Blackpool Council response over ‘dire hotels’ letting the resort down claim

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‘We will continue to investigate and, where necessary, enforce against poor operators who do not conform to acceptable standards’

 

Blackpool beach in June 2021
Blackpool beach in June 2021

Blackpool Council has broken its silence following concerns from local hoteliers and the MP over the standard of accommodation in the resort.

A handful of hotels have been at the forefront of poor reviews over the summer, leading prominent figures in the resort to call for change.

Earlier this week, Scott Benton MP for Blackpool South, urged hotels to get behind an opt-in accreditation scheme put in place by VisitBlackpool.

He highlighted concerns that the resort was being ‘let down’ by a number of providers, calling for those with ‘poor standards’ to invest more in the properties they are letting out to tourists so as to save Blackpool’s reputation as a good staycation option.

Speaking to LancsLive, he said: “Unfortunately there are a number of providers which continue to let Blackpool down which doesn’t just reflect poorly on those hotels and chains but on the resort as a whole.”

“I would plead with them to take every step they possibly can to invest in these hotels.

“From my point of view it’s hurting the resort.

“The last thing we need when people are staying in the UK are some of these stories of holidaymakers having an awful time in Blackpool. That’s something we need to address.”

He also called on the council to ‘play its part’ in encouraging b&bs to sign up to the accreditation scheme.

The 5-star proprietor of FourRooms, Michael Elt, then also added his thoughts to the matter, telling LancsLive that the resort is becoming a “dumping ground” for the rest of the UK.

He has urged for a compulsory licence to help bolster the town’s reputation as a holiday destination.

Michael added: “Many of you booking out there see a room for £10, £15 per night and think ‘great, that will do me.’

“What you don’t realise is that the place is probably not clean, tidy or safe, especially if you have kids in tow.

“This price also attracts the people who really just want to come to Blackpool, get drunk and trash the place.

“But then, the provider of the accommodation can’t afford to replace anything that has been broken, stolen etc and so the place then stays exactly the same way for the next visitor, which is you and then we’ve got the start of the downwards spiral.”

Now Blackpool Council has added its voice to the many calling for change. The authority has urged accommodation to ‘aspire’ to nationally-recognised accreditation standards.

A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “The Council works extremely hard to encourage accommodation businesses to aspire to nationally-recognised accreditation standards. Six years ago, through our VisitBlackpool tourism arm, we developed and launched the Blackpool Approved standard in association with VisitEngland.

“That entry level scheme provides hoteliers with the ability to obtain a nationally-recognised standard at an affordable price and gives an assurance to prospective guests that the accommodation they are considering is safe, clean and legally compliant. We will continue to work with the sector to promote quality standards.

“At the same time, we will continue to investigate and, where necessary, enforce against poor operators who do not conform to acceptable standards.”

The entrance to the Norbreck Hotel
The entrance to the Norbreck Hotel (Image: Submitted)

A whole host of incidents have led to the calls.

In June, the Metropole Hotel on Blackpool Promenade was slammed by a guest after he found “maggot on the carpet” during his stay.

Since then, the troubled Norbreck Castle Hotel has been dubbed the “HMP Norbreck Castle” with another guest claiming to have checked out within an hour of arrival.

Support groups have even been made online, with one specifically providing a space for guests who have had bad experiences at The New Royal Windsor Hotel.

Director of Stay Blackpool, Ian White, told LancsLive that the “never ending stream” of “hotel from hell” experiences is down to a number of things including misrepresentation online to having no compulsory accreditation scheme.

There is an opt-in accreditation scheme available to hoteliers provided by VisitBlackpool. Memberships into the scheme, accredited by VisitEngland, cost £49.95 for 1-20 bedrooms and up to £125 for 150+ bedrooms.

Those who opt-in to the scheme are then accredited through the national star-rating scheme or through the Blackpool Approved Visitor Accommodation Scheme.