Hotel u-turn block sparks Tory anger

A bid by Blackpool Tories to block a scheme to build a multi-million pound hotel opposite Blackpool North railway station has failed.

Saturday, 24th December 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:00 pm
Artists impression of a new hotel in Bickerstaffe Square proposed as part of phase 2 of the Talbot Gateway

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams had ‘called in’ the decision by the council’s executive to borrow £17.5m towards the scheme which would effectively kick-start the second phase of investment in the Talbot Gateway central business district.

It meant the decision went back before a scrutiny committee of councillors to be re-examined.

But the committee agreed to support the original decision.

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Coun Williams had argued money would be better spent on schemes which included new housing in neglected areas of Blackpool such as Central Drive and Lytham Road.

He also warned there was a financial risk to the council which he said would have to repay £1m a year to meet the borrowing requirements.

After the meeting Coun Williams said: “My arguments and reasons I presented were in regard to the profitability and running costs of the hotel.

“The statistics, cost overview and pitfalls were provided to me by one of the top hotel analysts in the UK and based on actual comparisons and showed a dubious investment at best.

“Coun Blackburn did not accept my reasoning nor that from other Conservative members who attended the meeting.

“All spoke against the proposal and pointed out the poor design featured in the artist’s impression, the location and the dangers of such a large amount invested in this single scheme.”

The council is proposing to fund a four-star hotel on the Wilkinson’s site which has been bought for £7m.

Plans also include a new tram terminal providing an extension to the tramway wins government approval, and an underpass linking both to Blackpool North train station.