One of Brighton’s most famous buildings and hotels could be tranformed into a youth hostel if plans are approved by Brighton City Council’s planning committee.
Councillors are due to debate the proposal that would see the Radisson Blu Royal York in Old Steine transformed into a hostel at a meeting later tonight.
But according to Nick Head, former chairman of Visit Sussex, if the changes go ahead it would prove to be a “real shame” for the city’s tourism industry.
“It’s not a good use for such an important and historic building,” he said.
“It’s an important building and it would be a real shame for it to become a youth hostel.”
The Royal York has been a feature in the city since it first opened in Steine Place as a hotel in 1819.
It has undergone many changes in its history, having become dilapidated and revived in the 19th century before being converted into offices in 1930.
It was changed back into a hotel by the Radisson Group in 2006.
But according to the committee report, the business had been losing money for a number of years with administrators expressing concerns about the hotel’s ability to continue.
The plan to lose the hotel in favour of a youth hostel also comes just one month after another historic building, The Lansdowne Place Hotel, went into administration with administrators KPMG showing an interest in turning the building into homes, claiming the hotel in Lansdowne Place was no longer viable given the economic climate.
But while the downturn has had an effect on local businesses, Mr Head said he doesn’t think there is a crisis in Brighton’s tourism and the closure of the Royal York was more to do with the size and scale of the business rather than a wider cause for concern.
He said: “I think it was too small to run as a full service hotel. I always thought they might struggle with a full service at four stars.”