Blackpool Council has revealed it now has greater flexibility to change the size of the resort’s holiday zones.
Town hall chiefs have decided to withdraw a policy to shrink the resort holiday zone from the council’s core strategy, which sets out proposals stretching forward to 2026.
But that does not mean the initiative is being dropped.
Instead it will be built into alternative planning policies in a move which will give the council more flexible powers to review the zones.
The changes mean the council could remove further areas from the designated holiday zone if, for example, a large number of hotels were for sale in a particular area.
John Donnellon, director for built environment at Blackpool Council, said: “We want to forge ahead with the core strategy and it is important we move forward with that.
“So it has been decided to take alternative planning approaches to managing the supply of holiday accommodation.
“This will build in some flexibility to allow us to review the holiday accommodation areas.”
A council report says: “In the longer term, the council could decide to only retain Promenade hotels if this approach was justified.
“At the moment, the inconsistencies with the way some of the boundaries have been drawn have added to the confusion why some holiday accommodation remains outside.” Plans were unveiled in 2010 to axe around 900 properties from the designated holiday areas as part of council policy to tackle the resort’s accommodation surplus, leaving 500 B&Bs and guesthouses in six new areas plus the Promenade.
At the same time stricter controls were adopted to prevent properties being converted to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
The aim of both policies is to enable failing holiday accommodation to revert to family dwellings, while preventing the spread of HMOs and protecting those hotels still trading successfully.
The latest move now paves the way for the core strategy, which also lays out future house building strategies, to go before full council for approval this summer.
It is then likely to be subject to a public inquiry in early 2014 before it can be formally adopted.
CASE STUDY: ‘Being out of holiday zone has boosted road’
Crystal Road is the road south of St Chad’s Road – and was taken out of the holiday area by the council.
It has been the focus of a £3m pilot project which saw the council buy up failing B&Bs and hand them to a housing association to convert to family homes.
The street is now made up of a mix of residential and holiday uses.
Noreen Westhead, of the Camelot House Hotel on Crystal Road, said: “We were nervous about the changes but all the families have moved in now, and we all think the street looks a lot better.
“Having the properties converted to family homes is a lot better than having them turned into houses in multiple occupation.
“We will have to wait and see what it is like in the summer when no-one can park and there is more noise.
“Being out of the holiday area has also allowed some of the older residents who wanted to retire, to turn their hotels into homes which means they don’t have to move. For those of us still operating as hotels, we still get support from the council as long as we are accredited.
“So yes, we were worried about going out of the holiday area. But the road looks brighter and having family homes is a lot better than having empty, rotting hotels.”