A New £27 Million Tax On Travelodge Developments Could Halt Future Budget Hotel Growth across London

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Today, Paul Harvey, the Managing Director of London’s largest hotel brand has written to Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State at the Department of Communities & Local Government calling for an urgent review into how the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is being exploited by London boroughs in an attempt to raise revenue – when in reality it is putting the capital’s growing budget hotel sector under severe threat. CIL was introduced by the previous Government with the intention of ensuring financial clarity for developers in a bid to ensure developments make a fair contribution to infrastructure whilst providing an alternative solution or replacement to Section 106 payments.

    However, instead of helping to drive long term sustainable growth, job creation and investment, the majority of London Boroughs are using this initiative to generate additional revenues.

    Travelodge, who currently operates 60 hotels across the capital, has identified 19 London boroughs that have already implemented or are looking to put into practice a CIL charge. Across these 19 boroughs, Travelodge is currently looking to develop 95 hotels which would create 2,600 new jobs. However for these developments to go ahead, the 19 boroughs combined are seeking an additional £27 million from Travelodge.

    Paul Harvey, Travelodge Managing Director said: “In today’s post recession economic climate, Government should be supporting businesses who are trying to help drive long term sustainable growth and not be placing barriers, such as the Community Infrastructure Levy.

    “This additional development charge is being interpreted by some London boroughs as a quick win revenue generator, when in reality by setting such high rates, they are actually losing out on long term growth, revenue and job opportunities. It is unviable for companies such as ours to invest in new developments as a direct result of this extortionate charge.”

    “The London hotel market is the strongest in the world however its supply of branded budget accommodation is less than 20%. In contrast other major UK cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow boast a 30% supply. It is evident that there is a clear need for good quality budget hotel rooms across the capital as many of the existing B&B’s and hostels offer inadequate accommodation, poor value and extortionate prices.

    “However the levels of tax being proposed by a majority of London boroughs rule out future hotel development and job creation. Therefore Eric Pickles must recognise the damage that the poorly thought through CIL levels will have on future economic growth, and he needs to stop Councils implementing such harmful rates of tax.”

    Detailed below are two examples of the haphazard approach certain London boroughs have adopted regarding the CIL in relation to hotel development:

    The borough is currently proposing two separate CIL rates in relation to hotel developments which include: £350 and £250 per square metre depending upon the location.

    Travelodge is seeking seven hotel sites across this borough and under the previous charging regime this would have been at a cost of £1.7 million. However under the CIL scheme the new charge would be £5.9 million – the biggest rise of any London borough.

    Despite having a severe lack of hotel rooms to support a growing population and thriving business community, the borough is seeking an additional £334,000 in tax from each of Travelodge’s two proposed developments which is an additional development cost of £668,000.

    Daniel Fountain / 29.07.2013

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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