BNP rally hotel licence revoked

A BLACKPOOL hotel which plays host to the annual BNP conference has had its entertainment and alcohol licence revoked.

The New Kimberley on South Promenade was brought before Blackpool Council's licensing panel for posing a risk to public safety, and failing to comply with health and safety notices.

The hotel caused public outcry after hosting three of the far-right BNP conferences since 2006, as well as this summer's "celebration event" after two party members were elected to the European Parliament in May.

New Kimberley manager Peter Metcalfe, who was fined 1,000 for nine offences of breaching food hygiene safety rules last year, was issued with two enforcement notices from Lancashire Fire and Rescue, which found the hotel to had inadequate fire safety standards.

And Blackpool Council officers had visited the 50-bedroomed hotel on numerous occasions, issuing a hygiene improvement notice in October.

At Friday's meeting, Gareth Shaw, spokesman for Blackpool Council's Health and Safety Enforcement Section, said: "We have had many unpleasant dealings with the people responsible for the New Kimberley.

"We issued a hygiene improvement notice in October after customer complaints since 2006.

"We also requested the hotel produce a certificate proving there was no asbestos risk on the premises, and that regular testing of electrical equipment took place."

The hotel was sent a letter demanding action on April 22, but on June 10 the council was forced to issue court proceedings. Management was fined 525 for seven offences of failing to comply with health and safety notices.

Mr Shaw added: "We've since visited, but Mr Metcalfe has become very aggressive and we have seen no efforts made to improve health and safety."

The fire service's enforcement notices to the hotel, whose leaseholder is Susan Metcalfe, also demanded that smoke detectors should be fitted, and that designated fire exits should be identified. These requests were ignored, said fire chiefs.

Paul Roper, spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue, said: "I've little confidence the managers of this hotel will ever comply with health and safety laws.

"We've been extremely accommodating with Mr and Mrs Metcalfe.

"We granted an extension when our enforcement notice, issued in July 2007, ran out, as Mr Metcalfe said the ownership of the hotel had changed hands, and now belonged to a Mr John Donut, of South Shore Travel.

"We've tried to get hold of this man, but we've never been able to, and therefore we have reason to doubt his existence.

"The managers of this hotel have continually failed to meet any safety standards and therefore we support the council in their call for a review of the licence."

David Kelly, spokesman and "designated fire safety officer" for the New Kimberly, said: "We have tens of thousands of visitors every year, and we have never had any problems. I know everything has been dealt with on an ad hoc basis, but we have had many problems and I'm determined to sort them out.

"I've never met Mr Donut, but I believe he had some financial input and then moved to Indonesia, and he ceased to own the hotel from August this year. We have also had firebomb threats because of the BNP conference, so we have been distracted.

"We have recently installed a 35,000 fire alarm system, and under my guidance Mr and Mrs Metcalfe will run a pristinely clean, safe hotel that will be among the best in Blackpool."

Mr Kelly claimed the council had taken action against the hotel due to its hosting of the BNP conference. The council denied the claim.

The hotel will have 21 days to appeal against the decision, after which time it will no longer be able to sell alcohol, or provide entertainment .