Letters - April 27, 2017
HOTELSHMOs fragmenting holiday zonesBeing a hotelier for 12 years now, I was seriously concerned that Blackpool Council committee meeting of April 24 was again looking at degrading and further fragmenting the holiday zone offering.
I totally agree there are areas which are now beyond viability, the big issue is the council significantly fails to support and manage the areas which are still viable yet seriously struggle due to the ingress of HMOs and property speculators who buy up properties at worse than bargain basement prices and just leave them, for year after year, till the planning department allow development at any price.
The holiday zones contain a large number of voluntary Blackpool Ambassadors, actively promoting the town and its venues and attractions, yet having their lifeblood drained away by the suffocating effect of the vine weed in the form of HMOs, empty properties and bad operators fed by the big on line travel agents who manipulate their review scores to make the worst places look half decent.
The council now need to make bold steps to save this bit of the town’s great heritage, the army of independent hoteliers and b&b owners who promote the town in a way which big chains can never achieve. The holiday zones desperately deserve the setting up of their own management company, so that all activity within specified areas is strictly managed, this needs to include powers over the HMOs, powers to force the owners of vacant properties to keep them in good order, and basically do everything possible to unify and enhance these areas.
Will someone please be bold and stand up for the town and all that has historically been great. The status of Britain’s Favourite Seaside Resort hangs by a thread despite the valiant efforts of the independent hoteliers.
Central Holiday Area
Don’t blame the guesthouse owners
Having read Shelagh Parkinson’s article on the ongoing problem of guesthouses blighting tourism areas, I am appalled by the brazen way Blackpool Council have placed the blame on guesthouse proprietors.
Yes, a number have contributed to it by failing to achieve their dream, either by lack of hotel business knowledge, finances or through bad day to day practices .
Many good and hardworking hoteliers were and still are being placed in an intolerable position by Blackpool Council’s planning department and committee. The decisions and inaction have had a greater contribution to blight than failed hotels.
The cause of this problem was then and is now the fact that private residences and HMOs were allowed to invade the holiday areas and change their unique character.
Many business have suffered because the council’s refusal to acknowledge what was happening and the planning committee’s own need to follow political dictum rather than being representative of all the public.
To add to existing problems the council appears to be hell bent on introducing more branded hotels - adding further problems for hoteliers.
I am sure that we all want to improve the standard of accommodation but let us do it in a sensible way.
If branded hotels want to move in let them buy up old and dilapidated hotels and rebuild the new one on that site. In this way newer bed spaces replace old bed spaces. This improves quality without adding to the problem of increasing bed spaces. I presume the council and the planning committee with their combined knowledge must be aware of what I and others have said over the years. Nevertheless they continued to ignore the facts and make decisions that will ultimately contribute to the demise of more businesses.
It can now only be seen as a deliberate policy.
Soft Brexit is not the answer
For those contemplating voting for the Liberal Democrats because of their ‘soft Brexit’ policy, there are a number of important issues you ought to consider.
Do you want the continuation of the uncontrolled EU immigration we now have?
Do you want our services, roads, schools, housing and NHS to be under constant pressure because of this influx?
More importantly, do you want your taxes paying for the basket case economies in the EU?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then you must confound the rest of us and place your cross adjacent to that party.
Don’t pop round to watch this
The other night I switched on All Round to Mrs Brown’s Boys, a BBC programme I had never watched before.
Stupefied, I watched until I could no longer bear it and turned off.
As someone who remembers the advent of television and has enjoyed most of its finest moments, I still feel dismayed at having now witnessed its nadir.
This raucous excuse for entertainment is muck TV.
It is fit only for pond-life to view.