COUNCILLORS have given the green light for a new 95 bedroom hotel in the centre of Southampton, bringing 20 jobs.

A 1950s three-storey concrete office building in Castle Way, formerly occupied by Lloyds bank, will be converted into a Travelodge.

Councillors gave the go-ahead for an 84-bed hotel on the site earlier this year but the scheme was later withdrawn to add more rooms and one additional floor to the building instead of two. It will have basement parking for 23 guests.

The majority of the 20 jobs will be offered to the long-termunemployed through the job centre in Southampton, Travelodge said.

Pool based CHG Developments, the owners of the Gracechurch House building in Castle Way, signed an undisclosed deal for the site with Travelodge after Lloyds vacated the building. The 19,000 sq ft building had been on the letting market for some time.

Travelodge hit the headlines in the summer when it announced it would be offloading up to 50 hotels, including two in Winchester, and writing off £700m of its debts under a controversial rescue deal.

It was also seeking new operators and asking for a 25 per cent rent cut for a further 109 sites it wants to keep.

Travelodge bosses reckoned there was still a shortage of rooms in the city, despite a number of new city centre hotels having opened in recent years.