A joint application for two “much-needed” hotels at Aberdeen Airport has been rejected by the city council.

The joint application for a 172-bed Garden Inn and a 102-bed Premier Travel Inn was turned down by the city council’s planning committee despite a “chronic” shortage of hotels in Aberdeen and a recommendation for approval by officials, the Press and Journal reports.

Developers KW Properties have not ruled out appealing the decision and say they now fear hotel operators Hilton and Whitbread will walk away from the project.

Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Forum Chairman Tom Smith says the decision is particularly regrettable “at a time when a lack of hotel accommodation has been highlighted as a barrier to the current and future development of business accommodation and the tourism market”.

Councillors say they are concerned the plans could contravene the Dyce Drive design brief approved in 2004 and, as a result, could breach Scottish Government planning policy.

There were also fears that planned improvements to transport infrastructure would not be sufficient.

Committee convener Scott Cassie says: “Whilst recognising the need for hotel space, the council recently approved a number of new hotels, and the development of this site is so fundamentally important to the economic future of the north-east that it is imperative that this is not prejudiced by an uncoordinated approach.”

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh