'We don''t want to be like Blackpool', say hoteliers as party house debate continues (From The Argus)
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'We don''t want to be like Blackpool', say Brighton and Hove hoteliers as party house debate continues
Angry hoteliers warned “we don’t want to be like Blackpool” at a meeting about party houses.
The traders claimed the houses – those let to groups on short term breaks – attract groups of hen and stag parties on “kiss me quick” visits which damage Brighton’s reputation.
Mark Jones, from the Brighton and Hove Hotels Association, said “we don’t want to be like Blackpool” at a meeting of the city council’s scrutiny panel.
He said: “These unregulated pop-up bed and breakfasts and party houses are infringing on the livelihoods of genuine guest houses and holiday lets.
“The sustainability of the legitimate industry is under threat.”
Mr Jones said the party houses affect the city’s ‘cultural’ reputation.
He also added that party houses had unfair advantages as they do not pay business rates and are not subject to the same regulations as hotels.
The health and safety dangers of party houses were also discussed but Dexter Allen, City Fire Safety Manager, assured that the fire authority was engaging in an auditing process with operators to ensure they comply with fire regulations The travel website Airbnb lists 93 operational holiday lets in the party house format in Brighton.
The party house industry was described as a ‘grey economy’ at the meeting Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the scrutiny community, said: “The grey visitor economy is a term that implies an iceberg part of the tourist industry, one that exists beneath the surface, and one that we must tease out how to manage.”
Mr Bowden reiterated his desire to not blacklist party houses but instead to find a ‘gold standard’.
Questions were also raised over how any houses bought to be used as party houses would affect the city’s housing pool.
Hoteliers speaking at the meeting argued that the party houses operate as “pirate hotels” – offering cheap and unregulated alternatives to licensed hotels.
Party house operators argue |that their guests boost the city’s economy and it is estimated that overnight visitors each bring in £125 a night.
They will speak at a further scrutiny panel meeting at Hove Town Hall on Tuesday at 2.30pm.