UK firm nears net zero hotel approval
UK-based Zeal Hotels has made an application of reserved matters with East Devon District Council for its sustainable hotel concept to be constructed at Exeter Science Park.
Following discussions with the planners, the group hopes to be granted full planning permission for the property, which will open under the Zeal Hotels flag.
The company expects to start work onsite in the first quarter of 2023, with the hotel opening in the second quarter of 2024.
The 140-room Zeal Hotel Exeter is aiming for a minimum BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’, with a target of ‘outstanding’. It will feature meeting rooms, a restaurant, bar, gym, gardens, and numerous car charging points.
First of many
The development, which is backed by a private investor, will be operated by a third-party management company. Confirmation of the hotel’s operator is expected before the end of the year.
The property will be the first of a number of sustainable hotels Zeal Hotels plans to develop and open around the UK.
Dream to reality
Tim Wheeldon, MD of Zeal Hotels, said: “Our 13-year dream is quickly becoming a reality. We are nearing the end of the planning journey for our first hotel and anticipate being able to begin the build early next year.
“East Devon District Council have been incredibly helpful, working with us to bring this project to life.”
Sustainable hotel demand
On the inspiration behind the project, Wheeldon commented: “Demand for truly sustainable hotels has never been more pressing. COP 27 continued to highlight the issues facing us and serves to remind us that action and global consensus is what’s needed – and now.
“The hotel sector has been slow to act and is lagging behind in the race – and requirement – to be zero carbon by 2050. Approximately 80% of the hotel stock we will have in 2050 has already been built and the hospitality industry has to reduce its carbon emissions by 66% on 2019 levels by 2030. This is a huge task and the later we leave it the more expensive it will be.
“The sector has failed to appreciate the role it plays as part of the problem, but also part of the solution. Collaboration is key at this stage.”
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