A new hotel will be built in a conservation area amid hopes it could help to revive a flagging high street.

Councillors gave the nod to plans for a 100-room Premier Inn on the former site of Barnet Market in Chipping Barnet at a planning committee meeting yesterday (Monday, November 5).

The development had previously been turned down after people in nearby Chipping Close raised fears it could lead to high levels of noise, a loss of privacy and traffic problems.

But councillors judged that changes made to the plans – including moving the building further from the houses and adding partial glazing to the windows – would address those concerns.

This was despite the fact that 80 objections had been received from people in neighbouring properties, compared to 42 letters of support.

Speaking at the committee meeting, Gordon Massey, chairman of Barnet Residents’ Association, claimed there was a lot of local support for the plans.

He said: “For the future of the town, we will have to adapt to a primarily service-based economy.

“The proposed Premier Inn precisely fits the future model of a service economy. There will be 100 people every day who will spend money in the local economy.”

Mr Massey claimed several businesses had shown an interest in moving into the area on the back of plans for the Premier Inn.

But Richard Gardham, who lives on Chipping Close, said the changes made to the planning application did not go far enough.

He said: “The proposed building will have an irrevocable impact – not only on our lives but on the area as well.

“A hotel of 100 rooms, four storeys high will be a nightmare. It will impinge on our privacy, steal our light, take our parking, be a nuisance 24/7.”

A spokesman for the applicant said analysis by business group London First showed the hotel would boost the local economy by £2.8 million every year.

He added that it would provide 50 full and part-time jobs, along with further employment opportunities in construction and the supply chain.

Councillor Claire Farrier, Labour member for East Finchley, said: “This may be advantageous to the town centre, but there are people living right next to it that it is going to affect.

“I do appreciate you have changed (the plans) quite a lot – but taking the building back by a quarter of a metre is not going to make that much difference.”

But Stephen Sowerby, Conservative member for Oakleigh, said: “This is a very sympathetic design that enhances a conservation area in a way that an abandoned car park does not.

“We can’t just not build because we do not want to upset the residents in Chipping Close.

“At the moment, this s purely an empty car park from which the local economy derives no benefit at all.”

Seven councillors voted to approve the application, with three voting against and one abstention.