‘Your hotel plans are a bit of a mess’

The outdoor area outside the Royal Carlton Hotel on Blackpool Promenade
The outdoor area outside the Royal Carlton Hotel on Blackpool Promenade
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A seafront hotel’s bid to convert its car park to an al fresco dining area must go back to the drawing board after being branded “a bit of a mess” by councillors.

Tony Banks has invested around £400,000 upgrading the Royal Carlton Hotel on South Promenade including creating an elevated decked area with windbreaks so guests can take breakfast outside in warm weather.

But Blackpool Council’s planning committee refused to grant the scheme permission, saying it was “sub-standard”.

They deferred the application which had been recommended for approval in order to get more detail about how it will finally look.

Concerns were also raised about the loss of parking spaces at the front of the hotel.

The plans had been submitted retrospectively because some of the work has already been done.

Coun Mark Smith told the meeting: “I don’t think the decking is to a great standard and I think there should be ample space for loading and unloading luggage when guests arrive.”

Committee chairman Coun David Owen said the decking detracted from the look of the building.

He added: “To me it is substandard, it looks a bit of a mess.”

But following the meeting, Mr Banks said the look of the scheme would improve because temporary handrails would be replaced with chrome posts and toughened glass.

He said: “I bring 70,000 guests a year into Blackpool by coach, so I don’t need a car park.

“I think it’s a better experience for guests to be able to enjoy the outside space rather than looking like every other hotel along the Promenade which has a car park at the front.

“The glass and chrome posts are costing £20,000 just for the windbreaks, so that shows the standard I am putting in.”

A design brief accompanying the application says “Not anywhere else in Blackpool offers this facility, or should we close up and send them (guests) to Spain?

“We will be the best on the coast and full use of the site is essential.”

The Royal Carlton re-opened this year after being closed for four years after it was badly damaged by smoke and water when a neighbouring derelict hotel caught fire in February 2010.

Mr Banks also owns The Royal Seabank, The Boston and Southbank in the resort.