Change needed to reduce Blackpool's over-supply of holiday accommodation
Hoteliers are being consulted over plans to make changes to Blackpool's holiday areas.
The council is reviewing its policies in order to manage the over-supply of holiday accommodation.
A 2011 study recommended existing bed spaces would need to be reduced by a minimum of around 15,000 to attain national average occupancy levels.
This equated to a minimum reduction of over 400 holiday accommodation properties.
To help achieve this, the council is aiming to make it easier for guesthouses to be converted to residential use, and will use other planning powers to ensure new homes are up to standard and not poor quality bedsits.
But some hoteliers have warned shrinking the holiday areas must be managed to avoid negative consequences such as the spread of HMOs (houses in multiple occupation).
Ian White, of the Chorlton Hotel on Hull Road and who is also secretary of the Central Blackpool Business Forum, warned the proposals would “water down” the significance of the holiday areas.
He welcomed the introduction of licensing for landlords in the central area, but added: “However the need for owners to improve their properties cannot be stressed enough.
“Critically the number of ‘placed’ tenants must be controlled so that properties do not become a bail-type hostel by back door methods.”
Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, also said hoteliers were nervous about the impact of allowing more properties to convert to residential use.
She said businesses were worried about the type of tenants which may be brought in.
Mrs Smith said: “We are liaising with our members and we will be putting forward our views.
“This is a one-off opportunity and we need to help the council to get it right. It is important we get as many responses as possible and the more we get, the better.”
No changes are proposed to the holiday area boundaries but the council is considering amendments to policies including new guidance to demonstrate whether a property is viable as a guesthouse or not.
A newsletter accompanying the consultation says Blackpool has more bed spaces than it can fill which has forced some guesthouses out of business, with some ending up as HMOs.
It says; “We are taking this opportunity to explain what the council is doing to tackle these issues now and how planning’s role in managing future change of use will help to create more attractive neighbourhoods.”
The consultation ends on July 24. To take part visit the council website or the proposals are available at the Customer First Centre and in all libraries.