24-hour B&B booze fears

Hotels on York Street.  The Mayport Marras.
Hotels on York Street. The Mayport Marras.

Hoteliers today called for a Blackpool B&B owner’s bid for a round-the-clock booze license to be thrown out amid claims yobbish behaviour was causing ‘carnage’ in their street.

Joseph Formosa has applied to Blackpool Council for a 24-hour alcohol license for the Mary Port Marras Bed and Breakfast (right) on York Street, part of Foxhall Village.

To add another licensed hotel within this small community with 24-hour alcohol sales would lead to even more carnage.

But police and licensing officers are objecting to the application on the grounds Mr Formosa, who also operates the neighbouring Adam and Eve Hotel, has failed to control the bad behaviour of his guests.

He has now been called to appear before a council licensing panel on March 6.

Sgt Caroline Hannon, of Blackpool Police, says in her report to the panel: “Mr Formosa has no control over his guests and the community have to suffer anti-social behaviour such as loud music, unruly guests running up and down the streets and damage to other properties.”

She added: “The business trade for hotels that adhere to their conditions is suffering financially as their regular clients are reducing as they do not want to witness this distressing behaviour – especially when they have small children.

“To add another licensed hotel within this small community with 24-hour alcohol sales would lead to even more carnage.”

In her report, Sgt Hannon says problems have been sparked by customers who are angered at the low standard of Mr Formosa’s hotels and demand their money back.

And other hoteliers have told police they have been approached by families staying in his accommodation for the use of their toilet facilities because of the poor quality of amenities in his hotels.

Council licensing chiefs, who are also objecting to the licence application, say they have been aware of problems since April last year.

Mark Marshall, licensing enforcement manager at Blackpool Council, says in his report that he arranged a meeting with hoteliers from the area in December amid suggestions Mr Formosa’s actions were “running the area into the ground.”

Health and safety officers have also uncovered concerns including dangerous electrics following a number of visits to the Adam and Eve Hotel between April and December.

Mr Formosa today refused to comment on the reason for the objections to his licence application.

He said: “Under solicitors advice I would have to say no comment. I can say a lot of what is said is not true.”

Paperwork submitted with the application, which had been made by Mr Formosa and William Lister, says steps will be taken to control the behaviour of customers.

Measures set out as part of the application include that the bar will be supervised at all times, CCTV will be provided in the bar, hallway and entrance area, signs will be displayed warning of a zero tolerance policy towards any criminal behaviour, drinks must not leave the bar area, and noise levels will be kept down “whether in the bar or outside.”

But hoteliers in the area told The Gazette there had been problems with anti-social behaviour in the area.

One, who did not wish to be named said: “We have a problem in this area with mismanaged hotels which do not control groups.

“The area has suffered and people are scared about walking down the streets.

“Guests hang about waiting to be checked in. You have a group of 40 to 50 men on the street.

“You have families and young people staying here and they are worried. We get quite a few people paying for bottles of water and toilet rolls because the facilities at the hotel are so poor.”

Another hotelier said: “We do not want a bad name. Blackpool Council can do more. It is up to them to decide. The police have picked up on this and the enforcement side has gone in and do not like what they see.

“If someone starts saying do not go to this area of Blackpool, all the good things we are doing to help the area could go to waste.”

And another hotelier, who also refused to be named added: “We had someone being sick outside our hotel. All the issues are giving a bad name to us. Giving a licence to this place would the last thing Blackpool Council should do.

“I’ve heard people shouting and screaming in the streets at night.”

Susan Potter, of the Ardwick House Hotel, says in written evidence submitted to the panel, that “introducing alcohol into one of Mr Formosa’s properties could escalate the problem”.

Helen Mansell, owner of The Bamford House Hotel and vice-president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: “There are quality places in the area.

“There will always be a few which let the side down but that can happen in any town.

“We have done a lot to make this an attractive area. The York Street Residents Association has helped to put up hanging baskets, bunting and Christmas decorations. It is lovely. Most people make an effort.”