Blackpool hoteliers fears after holiday area ruling

The former Northlands HotelThe former Northlands Hotel
The former Northlands Hotel
Hoteliers today warned '˜a precedent has been set' after plans for a former hotel in Blackpool's holiday heartland to be converted to six flats were passed.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee last night granted permission for the change of use for the former Northlands Hotel on Hornby Road despite it being in one of the resort’s designated holiday areas.

Planning officers said the application met the criteria for ‘exceptional circumstances’ under new policy adopted last November which means alternative uses can be considered for properties which are proved to be commercially unviable.

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The application was considered to be a test case for the revised rules.

But hoteliers fear the move will lead to unruly tenants moving in.

Ian White, of the Chorlton Hotel on Hull Road, said after the meeting: “The precedent has been set.

“The holiday area consultation stands for nothing. Property speculators can buy property safe in the knowledge the viability requirements will not be challenged.

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“Nothing is safe. Blackpool is now open season for the anything to get passed.”

Objections had been received from six hotels in the surrounding area.

Coun Tony Williams (left), leader of the Conservatives on the council, said he was concerned the policy could mean more hotels could be converted to HMOs (houses of multiple occupation).

He said: “The centre of Blackpool could eventually, under this council’s management, turn into a collection of HMOs filled with problem tenants paying their housing benefit direct into the council’s coffers and the true spirit of family holidaying in Blackpool would be lost forever.”

The Northlands Hotel was stripped of its alcohol licence by the council in 2016 after advertising 24-hour parties and causing disruption to other hoteliers.