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Blackpool's Once-Proud Hotels Sit Boarded Up As A Sad Reminder Of The Seaside Town's Faded Glory Days

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Daily Mail 1/3/14

'They were once the shimmering jewels of a popular holiday resort. But now the grand hotels of Blackpool mark its once-famous Promenade like a mouthful of decaying teeth.

Despite multi-million pound investments, and desperate efforts to revive its moribund tourist industry, the forgotten Lancashire resort's Golden Mile is a pallid reflection of its former self.

Many of the once-proud hotels and guest-houses overlooking the cold and often fierce Irish Sea are these days only frequented by rats, seagulls, vandals and the homeless.

article-2570386-1BE9138600000578-324_964x576.jpg+20 Eyesore: The empty hotel is emblematic of Blackpool's precipitous decline, evidenced by the empty street it sits on

At the height of its success, The Warwick Hotel, with its grand double-fronted vista and indoor heated pool, needed fifty staff to run. But now its doors and windows are boarded shut with MDF panels, its rooms lie unoccupied and its pool slowly festers.

Everywhere along the South Promenade air conditioning has given way to smashed windows and curtains fluttering in the wind. Dirt is slowly accumulating on The Royal Carlton; twice named Hotel Of The Year, the briny Blackpool air is now turning its steel window frames to rust.

The Kimberly's latest guests, meanwhile, are a gang of squatters who find its peeling, fading decor a better standard than taking shelter beneath the piers during the cold winter months.

The smaller Southways is shut as is the Travellers Rest next door - a forlorn sign displaying its last-ditch attempt to improve trade with £15-a-night bed and breakfast.

article-2570386-1BE912C100000578-787_964x603.jpg+20 Imposing ruin: The Abbeydale, a former care home on Blackpool's South Promenade, was shut after a scandal which unveiled a catalogue of failings

article-2570386-1BE91B4500000578-469_964x749.jpg+20 Forlorn: Rubbish lies heaped on the steps of the closed-down Travellers Rest guest-house, where a sign reveals its owners' last-ditch attempt to revive their business

The empty hotels and guest-houses of Blackpool are substantial buildings which in the past would have changed hands for £3million a time. Now they are worth around £500,000.

Ruined hoteliers desperate to sell mean commercial property agents have 150 hotels on their books in the Lancashire resort alone.

It's all a far cry from the town's glory days in the first half of the 20th Century, when it thrived as the resort of choice for the industrial workers of the North.

Photographs from the era show tens of thousands of tourists crowding the beach and the promenade, while hotels, fast-food joints, souvenir shops and amusement arcades carried on a brisk trade.

Economic collapse set in with the arrival of cheap air travel in the Sixties, when those working class Britons suddenly found Spain's sun-soaked Costas within their reach.

article-2570386-1BE9173D00000578-490_964x641.jpg+20 Pallid: The Kimberly's latest guests are a gang of squatters who find its peeling, fading décor a better standard than sleeping on the streets

article-2570386-1BE917CA00000578-269_964x686.jpg+20 Empty: A soggy discarded mattress lies at the entrance to the Cerena Hotel where, judging by the lame graffiti, even the vandals appear to have given up hope

Even now Blackpool's decline remains precipitous, with the numbers of visitors to the town almost halving since 1992.

Nevertheless, the town's nostalgic draw remains keeps it firmly embedded in British hearts. A 2010 Which? survey found it remained the country's favourite resort, beating trendy Brighton into second place and picturesque Whitby to third.

Now Blackpool's remaining traders have launched a urgent call for action to attack the growing blight of empty buildings.

Irfan Mahmood, owner of The Beach Hotel, said: 'The empty buildings have an effect on your business they give the area a bad reputation.'

Claire Smith, chairman of the Stay Blackpool hoteliers association, added: 'The town's image is suffering because of scruffy boarded up properties.'

'There are now so many boarded up hotels.Something has to be done because the Promenade is the visitors' view of Blackpool.'

Another seafront trader, who preferred to remain unnamed, invested £500,000 in a hotel which had already been empty for five years.

He said: 'I wanted to turn it into luxury apartments and invest another £250,000 into the place but the council said I would not get planning permission to change it from a hotel.'

'They need to be more flexible or more properties will become boarded eyesores.'

Tourism chairman of the local council Coun Graham Cain said: 'We are doing what we can in a difficult financial climate.

We have taken over some old guest-houses and turned them into family homes but buying up disused hotel stock is an expensive business.'

'We do work with owners to try and keep buildings aesthetically pleasing as possible.''

This is money 25/11/13

Top five personal bankruptcy blackspots in the UK are all seaside resorts

The scale of economic decline in Britain's coastal towns and cities was highlighted today as a report found the five towns with the highest number of people filing for bankruptcy are all seaside resorts.

Accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy said the level of personal bankruptcy in some coastal towns was now double the national average of 25 cases per 10,000 adults each year.

Coastal towns also dominated the top 50 areas for personal bankruptcy levels accounting, for more than a third (21) of the worst-affected areas.

The worst affected area was the English Rivera town of Torbay, which saw 54 new cases per 10,000 adults in the last year, the research found.

Rhyl & Prestatyn in Wales came second with 53, followed by Scarborough and Blackpool (both at 48) and Hull, the UK's new City of Culture, was fifth worst (44).'

Edited by Sancho Panza

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[

Another seafront trader, who preferred to remain unnamed, invested £500,000 in a hotel which had already been empty for five years.

He said: 'I wanted to turn it into luxury apartments and invest another £250,000 into the place but the council said I would not get planning permission to change it from a hotel.'

'They need to be more flexible or more properties will become boarded eyesores.'

Well, this is true. There's no point in insisting that these places continue as hotels when the demand simply isn't there any more. I could have a week in Spain for less than the cost of a week in Blackpool, guaranteed sunshine and meals and beer at half the cost.

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One of the biggest attraction for me were the vintage trams but for some reason the idiots on the council decided that the holiday makers from Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester might like to see a system similar to the one they had at home, which totally missed the point.

Meanwhile they have also blown millions on super sized street lights, when Victorian replicas would have been more appropriate.

It's like the Council are determined to get it to number one in the chav town league table. The decisions they have made have been pure lunacy and cultural vandalism.

I will be back in the summer nevertheless.

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It's the sort of thing that happens when property prices are encouraged to reach escape velocity and go into orbit. Even in Blackpool.

They can't compete with foreign holidays like UK workers can't compete with foreign workers - and the UK government encourages it all.

At the same time bank offices keep getting bigger and bigger and ever taller and more luxurious plus the massive banker's bonuses of course.

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The future of hotels here is in the chains like in the US.

There will remain a market for niche ones (top end / bottom end) but the mainstream with their old expensive to maintain buildings can't operate economically any more.

They'll charge £90 - £100 and be mostly empty as people can pay £50 - £60 at a perfectly good chain hotel with plenty of parking.

It's not just Blackpool with loads of empty hotels, there are plenty in the SW too. Generally why they're sitting boarded up down here is that they're all penidng conversion to flats and the banks aren't lending on these developments becasue of the number of unsold "luxury" flats already clogging up the local estate agents' windows.

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In July 2012 the DCLG published a consultation "New opportunities for sustainable development and growth through the reuse of existing buildings".

One of the core proposals was:

"To provide C1 (hotels, boarding and guest houses) permitted development rights to convert to C3 (dwelling houses) without the need for planning permission."

In May 2013 the Government published the summary of responses to the consultation and at that time it announced that the permitted use change for hotels and guest houses would not be implemented.

Among the basic objections by respondents were:

  • concerns about the impact on the tourist and business travel industry through the loss of bed spaces
  • landmark and heritage hotel properties could be lost which were irreplaceable
  • loss of opportunity to influence new housing being for families rather than flats and Houses in Multiple Occupation, with a greater risk of conversions being in unsuitable areas with a lack of amenities and poor building design standards
  • that the proposal could result in loss of employment opportunities.

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From what I see on the news Blackpool Council are one of the more 'righteous' ones. Do not seem to like revelry and perhaps would like to see an alternative to tourism. Blackpool actually had adapted quite from the draw of the Costa Brava, by catering for weekenders.

Sad to see the decline. When something gets too expensive for the pockets of potential customers and alternatives are more appealing and within reach we will see empty hotels. Never mind, there is always the great British obsession to fall back on, buying over-priced houses facilitated by humongous debt and one-dimensional government policy.

I visited the Isle of Man last year after a long gap and was astonished at the decline of tourism. In its heyday it was buzzing. Many of the once busy hotels gone, and the seafront now boasting those luxury apartments. You wonder how it is all afforded. The IOM turned to the finance industry, and things boomed... can it last?

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Ahh Blackpool. Once the weekend getaway for Britain, now just a sad chav stag/henny cesspit.

Surely the council has the most blame for the dilapidation.

I suppose the city not getting the super-casino licence back in 2007 was the final nail it it's coffin.

Edited by cashinmattress

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One of the biggest attraction for me were the vintage trams but for some reason the idiots on the council decided that the holiday makers from Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester might like to see a system similar to the one they had at home, which totally missed the point.

Meanwhile they have also blown millions on super sized street lights, when Victorian replicas would have been more appropriate.

I took my younger son there a few years back so he could see where I used to go on holiday when I was his age and thought pretty much the same thing. I certainly see the need for renovation there - it's a total sh1t-hole - but they seem to be determined to kill off many of the things that are unique about the place. I see no reason why Blackpool couldn't be much like Brighton with the right guidance. Allowing half of those cruddy old hotels and guest houses on the promenade to be turned into flats and houses would be the absolute best place to start I think.

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I suppose the city not getting the super-casino licence back in 2007 was the final nail it it's coffin.

It's an interesting point. I would have agreed with you until I visited Atlantic CIty, now I'm not so sure.

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It's an interesting point. I would have agreed with you until I visited Atlantic CIty, now I'm not so sure.

Atlantic city died when the Volstead Act was repealed on February 20, 1933.

Las Vegas however, although broken and a desolate place to the locals, is a big money earner and will continue to be as such.

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I heard that Blackpool was the first choice for Eurodisney, but the locals opposed it. How mental is that?

I had to go for a stag do a couple of years ago and couldn't believe how run down the place was. The only good things about the place was the old trams and for some reason the morons have got rid of them and replaced them with the ugly generic modern ones.

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Atlantic city died when the Volstead Act was repealed on February 20, 1933.

Las Vegas however, although broken and a desolate place to the locals, is a big money earner and will continue to be as such.

OK then, Niagara. Almost as much of a crap-hole as Blackpool (it even has it's very own Lytham-St-Annes in the form of Niagara on the Lake).

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I heard that Blackpool was the first choice for Eurodisney, but the locals opposed it. How mental is that?

That's interesting. I guess there would have been a lot of people against it because they would assume that would have been the end of the Pleasure Beach (although I think they'd have been wrong).

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Why board up these ghastly looking buildings? Look at image #3 (obviously been boarded up for some time at £15 per room) someone has dumped a load of rubbish on this one's frontage and painted it a horrible contrast of garish blue and yellow. Vandalism like this surely drags down the rest of the town. How hard can it be for the council to do a rubbish clean up and either paint over the frontage or knock it down. Same goes for the others. Or are they expecting some sort of revival in UK seaside holidays in towns known mainly for fighting and drinking? (and not necessarily in that order.)

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Usually they are boarded up because the developer is unwilling to invest substantial demolition costs into a site until they have planning permission for something that will make them a profit.

One I heard about down my way had been bought by a band of locals thinking that they couldn't lose with property, as people do

They admitted that they could not afford the extra money to demolish it and had been relying on a developer buying it off them at a tidy profit.

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Do you lay by the pool in Benidorm sipping a £2 Margarita in blazing sunshine, or do you sit in a greasy cafe in Blackpool waiting for a break in the rain so you can run 100 yards to the nearest amusement arcade without getting too wet, to spunk another £50, passing yet another dreary hour away pumping money into fruit machines?

Decisions, decisions! :lol:

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Do you lay by the pool in Benidorm sipping a £2 Margarita in blazing sunshine, or do you sit in a greasy cafe in Blackpool waiting for a break in the rain so you can run 100 yards to the nearest amusement arcade without getting too wet, to spunk another £50, passing yet another dreary hour away pumping money into fruit machines?

Decisions, decisions! :lol:

Oh, oh, I know this. I do.

We had a couple of nights in Weymouth last summer. GF family obligations.

2 adults, 2 kids. 3 nights @ £100 in a B+B. Small room, breakfast.

We had a 3 day break in a 5* city hotel - big room, pool in basement, fantastic break buffer - scoffed enough for dinner.

I genuinely like Weymouth. I think the town's great.

I would not visit Blackpool if someone paid me. I would never take my kids there.

Du to high real estate, the UK is juts not competitive.

Chuck in in cr.p weather and the UK tourism is just not viable.

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I heard that Blackpool was the first choice for Eurodisney, but the locals opposed it. How mental is that?

I had to go for a stag do a couple of years ago and couldn't believe how run down the place was. The only good things about the place was the old trams and for some reason the morons have got rid of them and replaced them with the ugly generic modern ones.

I think Thurrock was the preferred site for Eurodisney. Don't think Blackpool was ever in the frame from what I remember at the time. I've not checked though and could well be wrong. They did want the replacement for Wembley though - a 125,000 seater national football stadium.

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Love the way the tower used to be in private hands (Trevor Hemmings).

Then when it needed expensive repairs, off to the public sector!

Gotta love capitalism

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Ahh Blackpool. Once the weekend getaway for Britain, now just a sad chav stag/henny cesspit.

Surely the council has the most blame for the dilapidation.

I suppose the city not getting the super-casino licence back in 2007 was the final nail it it's coffin.

Another reason is you cannot park anywhere for a reasonable price and have all on dodging a parking ticket.

Learn and take note Mr Council.

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Why board up these ghastly looking buildings? Look at image #3 (obviously been boarded up for some time at £15 per room) someone has dumped a load of rubbish on this one's frontage and painted it a horrible contrast of garish blue and yellow. Vandalism like this surely drags down the rest of the town. How hard can it be for the council to do a rubbish clean up and either paint over the frontage or knock it down. Same goes for the others. Or are they expecting some sort of revival in UK seaside holidays in towns known mainly for fighting and drinking? (and not necessarily in that order.)

It seems odd that owners are even allowed to board up their places, yet drop piece of gum and its a £75 fine.

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Entropy-on-Sea.

:D

I go to Bleakpool once every 2 years, the bizarre, decaying, desperate monstrosity, that is the sea frontage and surrounding streets is unsurpassed in the Uk, Imo, it is quite a spectacle.

Rhyl had some empty hotels on the sea front but they were demolished some yrs ago. Presumably, the property owners in Blackpool have to pay business rates and risk squatters in commercial property. Perhaps they will take the roofs off?

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