Council blasted over hotel plans

Beaconsfield car park at full capacity
Beaconsfield car park at full capacity

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has come under fire from guest house and hotel owners in Bridlington over plans to develop a car park into a large budget hotel.

Bridlington Tourism Association hit out at the council’s director of planning and economic regeneration Alan Menzies, because the authority wants to make Beaconsfield car park surplus to their requirements and sell it to Premier Inn.

Bob Hillery

Bob Hillery

In a surprise change of tune Bob Hillery, president of Bridlington Tourism Association now says plans to construct a £7.1m hotel with 80 bedrooms would be “detrimental to many current small businesses” and “exacerbate the parking problem within the town”.

In a letter to Alan Menzies, Mr Hillery said: “This car park is fully utilised throughout the summer, and well used during the remainder of the year. Now you are saying that Hilderthorpe Coach Park will remain - does this mean that all the plans contained in the Area Action Plan are now surplus to requirements?”

Mr Hillery said the Association had hoped for a “quality hotel” rather than a budget one and that Premier Inn is unlikely to accept block bookings needed for large conferences at the Spa.

The Association now believes the new hotel would have a catastrophic impact on existing hotels and guest houses during the out-of-season period, because “tradespeople and contractors currently staying in guest houses/B&Bs will, no doubt, transfer to the budget hotel.”

Premier Inn

Premier Inn

My Hillery added: “Another bone of contention is the statement that 45 jobs will be created - we believe it will be more of job loss and displacement as when guest houses/hotels/B&Bs close, the staff employed there will seek work with the budget hotel.”

However the East Riding of Yorkshire Council disagree with the Tourism Association, and believe Premier Inn would help tackle Bridlington’s “socioeconomic deprivation” and “enhance the tourism offer to visitors”.

In his reply to Mr Hillery, Alan Menzies added: “The council strongly refutes the claim made by the BTA that Premier Inn is of insufficient quality. It is a national brand which is well respected for its good quality of offer at reasonable prices.

“The issue of car parking was taken into consideration when looking at the Beaconsfield car park site. The council monitors, on an ongoing basis, the occupancy levels of its car parks and the view was taken that the current number of users could be reasonably relocated to other car parks in the town.

“This investment by Premier Inn is the latest of a number made over the past few years and the council is confident that it will be both successful for Premier Inn and will also add something to Bridlington’s offer.”

However Mr Menzies’ reassurances are not likely to comfort Bridlington’s guest house and hotel owners, many of whom have been left worried for their future viability.

The Bridlington Tourism Association held a meeting on Tuesday (18 August) to which all Bridlington Ward and town councillors were invited, as well as members of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s cabinet. The Free Press were not allowed to attend.