£10k bill fails to aid tourism

Former hotelier Ian Collins says he can understand why the Warwick Hotel has withdrawn from Blackpool
Former hotelier Ian Collins says he can understand why the Warwick Hotel has withdrawn from Blackpool
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A BLACKPOOL hotelier has accused the council of not supporting tourism after being slapped with a £10,000 bill to change his premises to residential use.

Ian Collins from the Ambleside Hotel on Palatine Road said he has sympathy for the Warwick Hotel which this week announced its withdrawal from the resort.

Mr Collins says massive competition has made his business no longer viable.

But when he applied to change the use of the property to residential – a move which would help cut competition for other hoteliers – he was amazed at the number of obstacles in his path.

The 56-year old said: “I wasn’t at all surprised to hear the Warwick had withdrawn.

“I hope it will make the Council take notice.

“The number of obstacles thrown in my way when I applied for change of use were totally unreasonable.

“You just can’t make money.

“You can’t put rates up because competition is too high and hoteliers are leaving in droves.

“Allowing people to change cuts competition and stops businesses getting run down.

“We got no help or encouragement, it feels like the council doesn’t care.

Mr Collins has been told he must change aspects of his property at an estimated cost of £10,000.

The hotelier said he had been advised grants could be available, but a Blackpool Council spokeswoman said: “After extensive consultation we changed the holiday area to allow more people to transform hotels into residential accommodation.

“We can offer on advice how to achieve this.

“But we don’t have grants available to assist with the work.”