Hoteliers 'isolated' after street changes

HOTELIERS have accused town hall bosses of trying to squeeze them out of business.

Shaw Road in South Shore is earmarked to be taken out of Blackpool's traditional holiday area and transformed into homes in proposals made earlier this year.

Under the South Beach Area Action Plan some streets will be transformed from holiday accommodation into housing. But, while neighbouring streets are already predominantly residential, around 15 guest houses still operate on Shaw Road.

Hoteliers claim they are being isolated from the rest of the holiday area. They are also angry traffic arriving down Seasiders Way can no longer turn left into Bloomfield Road, cutting them off from visitors.

Meanwhile their business rates are set to soar by nearly a quarter next year, which could tip some into closure.

Ken Bonell, of the Oakwood Hotel, said: "There is no passing trade any more. We feel the council wants to push us out and make it all residential.

"But it will just be houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and that won't be good for Blackpool. We are only one street off the seafront yet the council wants to push us out of the holiday area.

"And then we are told to pay more in business rates. I will have to pay 800 extra from April next year, which is a 23 per cent increase. You start to ask, is this viable?"

Lynne Baker, of the Rydell, added: "We need South Shore to be put back on the map. There isn't even any signage telling people coming down Yeadon Way we have holiday accommodation, shops, pubs and restaurants here.

"Now they can't turn left into Bloomfield Road they just carry on into the central areas."

The council wants to reduce the amount of holiday accommodation in the town and has produced three neighbourhood actions plans, including one for South Beach which would see some streets taken out of the designated holiday area and re-assigned.

It is hoped to create high quality housing and the council is buying properties in some areas, including Crystal Road, to demonstrate how this can be done.

A council spokesman said consultation on South Beach had just ended. She added: "We are now going through in excess of 100 feedback forms and will be holding further workshops to discuss plans with those who indicated they would like to be involved.

"The council is keen to ensure hoteliers or anyone with concerns have an opportunity to speak about the proposals well before they are finalised.

"The change to the traffic signals was made in August, however the traffic order and road markings have been in place since 2006."

People could not turn left into Bloomfield Road when the bridge was still there prior to the new road layout.

The Valuation Office confirmed new rates were coming into force next April – visit www.voa.gov.uk/2010