Premier Inn have withdrawn from plans to build an 86-bed hotel as part of the Bircherley Green redevelopment scheme.
The news comes after the hotel chain's owner Whitbread announced that 6000 staff would lose their jobs due to a slump in demand.
A spokesman for the company said: "Whilst we are busily restoring our business in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, we have had to make a very difficult decision on our plans for a new Premier Inn hotel in Hertford.
"Regrettably following a review of our hotel pipeline, we have decided to withdraw from the Birchley Green development in Hertford.
"This difficult decision relates only to the proposed Premier Inn in Hertford and does not impact our other pipeline developments in Hertfordshire or elsewhere."
Premier Inn were the only confirmed tenant for the redevelopment and their withdrawl is a blow for the project.
Reacting to the announcement, Chase New Homes' planning and design director Alan Ward said: "While we had remained optimistic with Premier Inn continuing a dialogue through the past few months, they have now confirmed they will be rescinding their contract for the site.
"This is, of course, a huge blow for Hertford and for Bircherley Green and creates a vacancy when we had presumed a tenant.
"While we are disappointed with this news, we must accept these are unprecedented times for everyone and companies cannot ignore the enormous impact of a global pandemic.
"Our experience with everyone at Whitbread, Premier Inn’s owners, was professional and positive throughout and we wish them safe journey as they navigate through the economic uncertainties ahead.
"We also want to reaffirm our commitment to Bircherley Green. We have now reached consensus with the council on the legal agreement which precludes [sic] the planning permission and will be starting as soon as we receive an implementable planning permission."
East Herts District Council also responded to the news, with a spokesperson commenting: "We are very disappointed that Whitbread no longer plans to build a Premier Inn at Bircherley Green, although we, of course, appreciate the difficult situation facing all hospitality businesses at the moment.
"We are confident that Chase New Homes will work hard to find another tenant and that when finished, the development will be an asset to the town of Hertford."
The site was levelled by previous owner Diageo in 2018 before both they and developer Wrenbridge pulled out of a previous scheme for the redevelopent of Bircherley Green. They subsequently sold the land and remaining derelict buildings to Chase New Homes.
To find out more about the background to this story read our article about the redevelopment of Bircherley Green.
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