TRAVELODGE has revealed plans to complete 17 new hotels this year including one in Winchester High Street – which is now open for bookings.

Planners approved the designs for the new Winchester branch in April last year, with the hotel opening for business this week, despite the ongoing construction work on the retail units below.

The go-ahead followed changes to the scheme after criticism from a number of people and organisations, as well as Winchester City Council’s urban design officer.

The 62-bed hotel has taken over the vacant Next store, which was demolished before construction work began on the new hotel.

Commenting on the national expansion of the hotel chain, Peter Gowers, Travelodge’s chief executive, said: “Despite the uncertainty facing the UK, the long-term prospects for low-cost hotels remain strong.

“The next phase of our expansion plan will see us deliver more choice in more places than ever before.

“We’ve come a long way from our early days by the side of the motorway and today’s Travelodge not only offers the same great value as always, but the extra choice of our new Travelodge Plus and SuperRoom concepts – ideal for those for who want just that little bit more.”

He added: “Britain’s travellers are changing. We expect more and increasingly we travel to a wider range of places. More and more of us are working away from home during the week, and we’re taking more long weekends.”

Nationwide, the company has said it is investing around £115 million in the expansion programme.

The 17 Travelodge hotels expected to open in 2019 will be in: Bury St Edmunds, Chippenham, Edinburgh Park, Glasgow, Gosport High Street, Letchworth Garden City, Liverpool Edge Lane, London Dagenham East, London Beckton North Circular, Marlow, Rhyl, Rochester, Sittingbourne, Solihull, Swindon West, Walsall and Winchester.

They are set to create more than 350 jobs.