Controversial plans to build a 71-bedroom Premier Inn hotel in Keswick may not be decided until next year.
It was October last year when brewery giant Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn, first confirmed it was planning to develop the site of the former Ravensfield care home on High Hill.
The planning application for a hotel with bar, restaurant and 30-space car park was submitted in February after a largely negative public response and was immediately opposed by Keswick Town Council, which said it was an over-development of the site.
The scheme, which was also opposed by a 3,300-name online petition, was then due to go before the next meeting of the Lake District National Park Authority for a final decision in spring or summer 2020 — until coronavirus struck.
Now, councillor Tony Lywood, Keswick’s sole representative on the LDNPA, says it is facing further delays after Cumbria County Council recommended refusal because of parking and traffic concerns.
“There is going to have to be an almost new application submitted in due course because of the report that has come in from the county council,” he said in his report to the town council as Keswick’s county councillor.
“It is very unlikely that will be in September. It is more likely to be October, November or even early next year,” he added.
The Friends of the Lake District are also opposing the plan, while Keswick’s MP Trudy Harrison is supporting the community campaign against it which saw a packed public meeting held in March.
In a general comment, Mr Lywood added that the LDNPA was “under significant financial pressure” because of a drop in income from commercial activities in the Lake District which he said had been decimated like much of the visitor-based economy.
This was likely to lead to job losses and a reduction in the work it can do over the next year, he added.