Plans to revive the fortunes of the failed K Village shopping centre in to a 69-bed Travelodge hotel have been given the green light.

Members of South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee voted unanimously yesterday for the hotel development to go ahead, along with 88 new one-bedroom apartments at the site in Kendal.

The decision follows years of debate about the future of an iconic building that opened to much fanfare in 2010, but quickly saw tenants pull out, citing low footfall and poor sales.

While politicians and some business and community have welcomed the Travelodge plans put forward by current K Village owners Lou Kendal, they received a lukewarm welcome from Cumbria Tourism managing director Gill Haigh, who said the impact on smaller hospitality businesses needed to be carefully considered.

Work on the development is set to begin in January – around seven years after the previous owners of the £100 million mixed retail and residential development, Kendal Riverside Ltd entered administration with debts of £68m.

A spokesman for Lou Kendal said: “The creation of a new Travelodge hotel in Kendal town centre would support the aspirations for an improved evening economy in Kendal, whilst supporting several international businesses located in and around Kendal.

“The proposals will also deliver much needed low-cost market housing where it is needed and will revitalise the struggling shopping centre.”

Kendal Business Improvement District, Kendal Town Council, Kendal Civic Society and Kendal Futures have all supported the development.

Lou Kendal said will address concerns raised by local conservation group Kendal Swifts by installing 15 swift bricks as part of the project. Swift bricks provide a habitat for the birds to nest.

At the planning committee meeting, Dan Brown, a planning consultant speaking on behalf of the applicants, said the hotel proposal enjoyed lots of support.

He said 86 per cent of the public who took part in a consultation were in favour.

“Initial work will start on site as early as January with an 18 to 20-month build period,” Mr Brown told South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee at a meeting in Kendal.

Council leader Giles Archibald addressed the committee as a supporter of the application.

He said: “This is an important and iconic building in Kendal and everyone will know the rather sad history.

“It will provide 88 additional one-bed flats and many single people married without children are looking for this type of accommodation in Kendal.

“Added to the 90 plus flats that are already there, it will significantly help to the vibrancy of the area."

Council planners described the proposals as a good, imaginative scheme.

Simon Thomas, chairman of Kendal Business Improvement District, told councillors: “We have had great success with the Comic Art and Kendal Mountain Festival and both of those complain there is not enough temporary accommodation in Kendal for people coming to spend a weekend here.

“This means they are probably staying in Windermere or Ambleside, which means we are not getting the additional money into businesses pockets.”

Coun Brian Cooper said he was glad to hear that the K Shoes Heritage Centre would reopen elsewhere.

The hotel development does not affect the Anytime Fitness gym, Costa Coffee or Terrazzo, which are all still trading, said a council officer’s report.

The basement car park would also be extended by 12 spaces to create 429 spaces for cars, including “bike docks” for cyclists.

There would be more than 30 apartments on the first floor, 38 on the second, and 20 on the third floor.