SABRES are being rattled in Ashburton over plans for an 80-bed hotel on the edge of town.

Social media has been abuzz with those for and against plans by Premier Inn to set up home on the Dolbeare site just off the A38 next to Ashburton Police Station.

The company, which earlier this year was beaten off by fierce opposition in Tavistock to develop a similar venture near the town centre, wants a two and three-storey split-level hotel to rise on a plot off Eastern Road.

Town councillors held off giving their verdicts on the contentious issue when they met for their full meeting on Tuesday night.

They decided to postpone discussion on the pros and cons of the enterprise until the end of the month when they will declare their take on the matter.

Cllr Sarah Parker-Khan said many objections had been raised about the scheme on social media, although chairman and mayor Don Distin reckoned the arguments for and against were more 50-50.

At the last count, nearly 40 letters of objection had been sent to the local planning authority with objectors getting the edge on supporters.

Cllr Distin said an ‘open mind’ would be kept on the merits of the proposal until the full details of the application were known and absorbed.

The final decision on the worth of the scheme will be made by Dartmoor planners later this summer.

The building land is just within the national park boundary.

Members, who agreed to hold back their debate on the issue until later this month, heard traffic issues and the effect of a hotel on the local accommodation trade would be key factors.

The development, on private land, also ropes in car and cycle parking issues as well as concerns over landscaping and access.

The council agreed that Cllrs Elaine Baker and Alison Irens would prepare a report for future consideration by fellow members.