Lower our taxes hoteliers plead

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TRADERS have today labelled Promenade roadworks a “nightmare” and some fear they may be driven out of business by the problem.

Work to install tram tracks has forced the road to partially close, severely limiting the opportunities for hotels and businesses to attract people in.

And the situation has resulted in one of the quietest Easter weekends some hoteliers can remember.

They are now lobbying Blackpool Council to get their business rates lowered in 2012 as they claim the works significantly reduced footfall in the North Shore area.

Ron Adams, owner of the Bedford Hotel, North Promenade, told The Gazette: “This part of Blackpool is a no-go area because people are not going to bother to find us as the road is closed. We’re fed-up of this losing us money.”

The hoteliers, who last week met at the Manhattan Hotel, on North Promenade, to discuss the issue, pay annual business rates ranging from £26,000 to £30,000. But bosses say this cannot be justified by a council who made the decision to close the Promenade and deny business to hotels and shops who profit from tourists passing by.

Dave Macmillan, owner of the Stretton Hotel, also on North Promenade, said: “I’ve suffered over the Easter holiday. The road has killed us.”

Alex McGlynn, of The Aloha Hotel, added: “I’ve had one door-knocker since Christmas and we normally have two or three a weekend.”

The hoteliers gathered for a meeting organised by Manhattan owner Mary Holliday, to discuss the best way to attract attention to their cause.

Mrs Holliday, along with a number of the other traders, have written to Lancaster Valuation Office – on instruction of Blackpool Council – to get the business rates changed.

Shop owners have also struggled.

Paul Smith, owner of the Imperial Drug Store, on North Promenade, said: “We are 40 per cent down since Christmas every weekend. If the hotels aren’t full nobody is here and we lose money.”

John Donnellon, Blackpool Council assistant director for transport, said: “We appreciate people being patient.

“We’ve been able to maintain access for vehicles between Talbot Square and Gynn Square and have diversion signs in place from the motorway to ensure people can access hotels. We have provided all hotels with leaflets and information which can be sent to prospective guests.”