CASH-PRESSED Croydon Council is being asked whether it wants to make some money by moving into the hotel trade.
The offer comes from hotel chain, Travelodge, which has written to the council asking whether it would be prepared to enter a development partnership to build a new hotel in the borough.
It comes on the back of three deals the chain has recently completed with Reigate and Banstead, Cherwell and Breckland Councils.
Under the scheme, the council would be left with two choices after the hotel was completed - either retaining the ownership of the hotel and using rental income from Travelodge or selling the premises, with Travelodge as its operator, and keeping the development profits to benefit the community.
Travelodge already has three hotels in the borough in central Croydon, South Croydon and Crystal Palace.
No site has yet been identified for the new hotel but Peter Gowers, Travelodge chief executive, said: "We are delighted to be working with leading local authorities to help local communities realise the income potential, job creation and other community benefits that a Travelodge-backed development scheme can bring to their area. "There are considerable further growth opportunities for Travelodge in the borough and we are looking forward to adding further hotels to the portfolio as we extend the programme over the years ahead."
The hotel chain made a similar approach to the council in October 2013 but the proposal received a lukewarm reception from the then Conservative council leader, Mike Fisher.
Councillor Alison Butler, the present Labour cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: "It is an unusual proposal but we are always keen to listen to and discuss plans which would benefit the town and the people of the town."
But, she added: "If this involves borrowing money to finance the hotel, I can think of other things we might want to borrow for before this."
She pointed out that there were already a number of other hotel chains who recognised Croydon's regeneration potential and were interested in moving to the town.