A GRADE II-listed building formerly used as Swindon’s central laundry will be transformed into a 118-bedroom hotel.

Last night Swindon Council’s planning committee paved the way for the former Paragon Laundry site in Aylesbury Street to be converted into a Hilton “Hampton” hotel, despite fierce objections from a local councillor.

The listed frontage of the building will remain but the rest of the structure will be demolished to make way for a six-storey hotel, complete with a bar, restaurant and parking facilities.

The existing building was described as “rundown and unsightly” by Peter Lawson of Turley Associates, who represented the developers at the meeting.

He said: “This is a huge step forward in the regeneration of the town centre.”

Mr Lawson said Hilton’s choice to come to Swindon was a “vote of confidence for the town”. He also pointed out that the dimensions of the hotel were very similar to those of a proposed apartment block that was granted planning permission for the same site last year.

But central ward councillor Bob Wright claimed the application was completely wrong for the location, which he said should incorporate residential not commercial development.

“This is corporate America trying to put a hotel here,” he said. “We want better hotels in Swindon and better standards but this is a low level hotel being deliberately put in the area even though it’s not suitable for this location.

“We welcome the hotel but not on this site.”

Coun Wright pointed to a number of faults in the application, including the fact that it would increase traffic and cause problems with car parking.

However committee members decided that the application was suitable and voted through both the application to construct the hotel and one to permit listed building consent.

Coun Russell Holland (Con, St Margaret) said he was reluctantly supporting the proposal.

He said: “In an ideal world we would have something different but it will take a site that is rundown and tidy it up.”

Coun Vera Tomlinson (Con, Abbey Meads) was more fulsome in her support of the project.

“This is the ideal place for a hotel,” she said.

“It is close to the railway station and bus station and it’s in the town centre.

“We are committed to regenerating the town centre and this part of that goal.”

Other councillors raised concerns of the signage and canopy being attached to the listed frontage, but both applications were accepted with no oppositions.