Property developer Pritchard Group has been given the green light to build a £45million hotel and ‘Employment and Innovation’ centre on the Stafford Road in Wolverhampton as part of the city’s northern gateway project.

Visually bold, the 60-bed Travelodge hotel complex, restaurant and office space will comprise a landmark nine-storey tower fronting Stafford Road. This will be coupled with a modern three-storey building complete with an innovative ‘wave-form’ roof running into the site.

Situated to the back of the 12-acre site, will be a 210,000 sq ft business hub. Housing incubation and grow-on space, the facility will provide a springboard for entrepreneurs and provide a welcome boost to the local economy with the potential of creating up to 500 jobs.

Fred Pritchard, chief executive of Cannock-based Pritchard Group, said: “We are delighted to be able to move forward and deliver this scheme which will transform the northern approach to the city. It will be a powerful landmark that tells visitors Wolverhampton means business.

“There is huge demand for more hotel accommodation in the area and, as it will be an ideal place for business people to meet in a central location, our scheme will also attract day visitors.

“The next steps now are to get on site and deliver the proposals. We hope to start in the spring with a view to completing by 2011.”

Wolverhampton Development Company (WDC) has worked closely with Pritchard Group and the council to ensure Citygate Plaza supports the city’s growth plans. In response to the planning approval, Stephen Catchpole, chief executive of WDC, said: “We have an ambitious vision for Wolverhampton and developers like Pritchard Group are helping us to make it a reality. We want the Stafford Road to become a thriving employment and living corridor into the city and Citygate Plaza is key to achieving this.”

Steve Boyes, director of sustainable communities for Wolverhampton City Council, added: “We are committed to the ongoing growth and development of Wolverhampton and Citygate Plaza is another example of this. We will soon have a skyline full of cranes marking the city’s transformation.”

Mr Pritchard believes the facilities at the new scheme will meet the needs of a variety of occupiers.

He said: “The logistics and the position of the site will be superb for a business location, especially for the SME market and contained within the Hub are its own café and break-out areas so that people can do business and network among the companies already there or with visitors.

“Coupled with that is a 60-bed Travelodge Hotel which will provide rest for the weary business traveller and also at weekends for tourists, when people are visiting places like Ironbridge Gorge or the Black Country Museum. All are easily accessible from the nearby motorway and arterial road network,”

Mr Pritchard said a hotel and restaurant operator had been secured and that overall the project could lead to the creation of as many as 2,000 jobs.