MORE than 840 hotel rooms could be built in York over the next decade - creating around 220 jobs and increasing tourist revenue by £30 million, a report suggests.

But the findings have sparked concern from several independent hotel owners in the city who believe the predicted growth could spark a “price war” among hotels.

The York Hotel Needs Assessment, created by GVA Consultancy for City of York Council as part of the Banana Warehouse site hotel application, found that “there is a positive opportunity to develop further hotel stock in York” with an estimate of 842 new bedrooms that may be built over the next 10 years.

The report adds that the impact on the local economy of the additional bedrooms would see an additional 368,000 visitors a year to York that could help increase tourist spend by about £30 million.

The forecast is based on five four-star hotel planning applications which have been accepted by the council - and on four more hotel applications that are “pending”.

It said: “York has a large visitor economy worth £660 million. “The overseas market is growing with visitors from China and the USA in particular for whom the international brands such as the Marriott are attractive. The provision of modern quality hotels is important to the continued success of the sector.

“Boutique properties are attractive to higher-spending visitors. Four-star hotels drive more visitors and employ more staff.”

The report added not providing the hotels could make competitive destinations more attractive.

Philip Bolson, manager of the Grand Hotel, York, said: “In principle, we will always support enhanced hotels into York, but hotels that fully engage with the city and wider area not just with jobs. Hotels that are committed to not negatively impacting the city's environment.

“It is worth noting that whilst occupancy has been reasonable over the last few years this has come with an impact in a decline in rate as the market becomes more compressed."

He added that a number of hotels, restaurants and bars in York already struggled to fill their staff vacancies.

"Therefore, growing hotels has to be in line with the infrastructure of the city," he said.

Michael Slater, assistant director for planning and sustainable development at City of York Council, said: “The Banana Warehouse planning application is a private development application which will be considered in the usual manner by City of York Council.”

Helen Heraty, proprietor of Grays Court hotel in York, said: “I recognise the importance of York as a tourist destination and the city’s increasing popularity.

"But, given the already high number of hotels, B&B and a burgeoning Airbnb market, the plans to expand the number of hotel rooms is deeply concerning.

"There has, for some time, been something of a price war with hotels having to cut their room rates in order to attract more business due to over-supply.

"This is particularly tough for independent hotels who do not have the support of a parent company, are subject to sky-high business rates and work on low margins.

“I do not see that the plans to increase bedroom stock will help the current situation within the hospitality sector in York.”

A spokesman for the independent business association, Indie York, said it would be keen to see stronger, ongoing support of independent hotels in the city from major employers.

“Quite often the support of the independents yields a higher return in terms of supporting the local economy.”