Whitbread submits plans for new hotel and investment at Willen Lake

Milton Keynes (Willen) - View from Lakeside Footpath North v2 blog page.jpg
06 December 2019

New Premier Inn and restaurant would boost wider development and expansion at Willen Lake

Whitbread – owner of Premier Inn – has submitted plans to bring a new Premier Inn hotel and family restaurant to Willen Lake in a scheme which will further reinforce this as one of the key leisure attractions for Milton Keynes.

The proposals are for a new 120 bedroom Premier Inn hotel together with a 211 cover ‘Cookhouse and Pub’ restaurant overlooking the lake.

Whitbread is bringing forward the proposal in conjunction with The Parks Trust with a view to the development adding to the mix of attractions and enhancing the range of activities on the lake.

The new hotel would be a latest-generation Premier Inn with a bespoke design to reflect the site’s setting next to the lake.  The adjacent Cookhouse and Pub restaurant will feature impressive views out to the lake with a light and bright glass frontage and outside seating area for customers.

The hotel will also feature a number of family bedrooms to cater for people visiting Milton Keynes for Willen Lake, Gulliver’s World or other local attractions and looking for suitable accommodation in this part of Milton Keynes.

Jamie Baker, Development Manager at Whitbread, said:

“These plans are an investment into Willen Lake and offer a real boost to the aspiration to make the Lake a vibrant, successful centrepiece of Milton Keynes’ mix of leisure locations.  With a brand new hotel and a quality Cookhouse and Pub restaurant – plus the 70-80 new Whitbread jobs created by the plans – we can contribute to building Milton Keynes’ leisure economy and making Willen Lake an even more enjoyable place to visit.”

Ben Allot, Head of Property at The Parks Trust, said:

“Willen Lake is managed by The Parks Trust and we have been investing in new facilities in order to improve the visitor experience at the lake.  As part of our phase two plans we are pleased to be working with Premier Inn on this scheme which will contribute towards enhancing visits for customers, particularly those that are staying over in Milton Keynes.  Willen Lake is Milton Keynes’ most popular park and these proposals provide more choice for residents of Milton Keynes and visitors alike.”

The site of the proposed hotel and restaurant is off Brickhill Street immediately to the south of the Unify office building and directly to the north of the Willen Lake North Bay Pay & Display car park.  The proposed hotel building would be a four storey building.  The Cookhouse and Pub restaurant would be a single storey building with double-height windows to the front, overlooking the lake.

A dedicated customer car park is proposed with 157 car parking spaces.

The planning application is anticipated to go before Milton Keynes Council’s Development Control Committee for a decision.

If approved, Whitbread would expect to review its current position on the existing Willen Lake hotel, where the Premier Inn (‘Premier Inn Milton Keynes East Willen Lake’) is alongside a Greene King pub and restaurant.  Part of the reason for the submitted proposals for the new hotel is to enable Premier Inn to modernise its accommodation in this sought-after location, including being able to offer more family rooms, as well as to have a Whitbread brand food & beverage offer.

Subject to planning permission, Whitbread is looking to start on site with construction in autumn 2020 with a view to the new hotel and restaurant opening in summer/autumn 2021.