A BUDGET hotel chain’s bid to extend its Highcliffe site has been refused due to concerns about the impact it would have on two oak trees.

Premier Inn had hoped to be given permission for the three-storey, 18-bedroom extension on the western end of its existing building.

However, concerns have been raised about the chain’s domination of the area’s hotel market.

Submitted at the end of last year, the plans would have increased the number of bedrooms at the hotel to 79 but reduced the number of parking spaces by one to 100.

Robert Dee, who lives nearby, said: “It is now getting to a point that choice of accommodation is rapidly declining and B&Bs are gradually closing down.

“Soon people will have no choice other than to stay at the Premier Inn, with company now having taken over the area, and charging whatever they want.

“We need more variety for the public before it’s finally too late.”

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council planning officer Sophie Mawdsley refused to grant permission for the extension, despite saying the principle of the development would have been acceptable.

She said that the larger building would “inevitably” have led to future pressures to severely prune or chop down two nearby oak trees which are subject to a tree preservation order.

“The proposed development would have an adverse impact on two mature oak trees and prejudice their future longevity from future pressure to prune or fell,” she said.

“This is not outweighed by the fact that the principle of the development is sound; the design and form of the building is acceptable; and the economic benefits of the hotel extension.”

She added that the parking arrangements outlined in the plans were “acceptable” and that fears about the loss of a footpath to the north of the hotel were unfounded.

The application was refused on Tuesday.