Derelict hotels that attract anti-social behaviour could be turned into accommodation following complaints from nearby residents and traders, who say they are an eyesore.
Run-down hotels on the seafront in South Shore are a long-standing source of frustration for neighbours, who say they have had to make daily calls to the police because of the problems they attract.
The latest incident, when the Palm Beach Hotel on New South Promenade was severely damaged in a suspected arson on Thursday, has brought the situation to a head. Council bosses met hoteliers in the area on Friday, in a meeting that had been arranged before last week’s blaze, and pledged to tackle the problem.
Neil Jack, chief executive of Blackpool Council, said: “Everyone agreed on the need for improvement and progress in the area, which is a key gateway to the town and, as a result, we have agreed to carry out a viability study for development of the area, considering options for future use, including holiday accommodation, residential and other uses. We will be looking to start this as soon as possible. We’ve also agreed to look urgently at ways in which we can improve the attractiveness of the area, including the local environment and the empty properties.”
The decision was welcomed by hoteliers, who had previously criticised the council’s lack of action. Permission was granted in 2009 for a new £14m hotel on the site but work never went ahead.
Plans for an 11-storey residential development nearby were thrown out by planners because it could set an “adverse precedent” for getting rid of holiday accommodation on the Promenade.
Steve Pyatt, owner of the Waldorf Hotel, said: “The council is looking at smartening up this end of the crescent. The meeting was quite productive but we will have to wait and see how this goes.”