MP Stephen Gilbert raises Newquay's derelict hotel site problem with top minister
Newquay MP Stephen Gilbert has asked the government to back local plans to take action against derelict hotel site owners at the resort.
The Liberal Democrat MP for Newquay and St Austell has been making steps to address the resort’s derelict hotel problem.
The face of Newquay has been blighted by derelict eyesore sites in recent years with at least 20 currently abandoned sites at the resort, including the eyesore Fistral Bay Hotel and fire-ravaged Cedars and Riviera hotels.
A meeting was held between Cornwall and town councillors in Newquay and Mr Gilbert earlier this year, where councillors said new legislation needed to be implemented to ensure a building could only be removed from the business rates register once it has been demolished. Currently, once a building is deemed uninhabitable it is then removed from the business rates register, leaving a risk that the building could be abandoned.
Last week Mr Gilbert met with the Communities and Local Government Minister, Stephen Williams MP, in light of the earlier meeting, where he explained about the dangers posed by the deserted sites and the eyesore they cause for the town.
He asked the government to support Cornwall Council in taking action against the site owners through powers provided in the Town and Country Planning Act.
The Minister promised to provide information about the options available to Cornwall Council and to put local council officers in contact with their counterparts who have used the powers successfully elsewhere.
Mr Gilbert said: “I was delighted to meet the Minister and discuss this important issue for Newquay.
“As a resident of the town, I see first-hand the impact that these derelict sites are having on our community and I know from speaking to the emergency services, local councillors and other officials about the danger to life that the sites pose.
“I am hopeful that the Minister’s support will have an impact and see Cornwall Council take the necessary action against the owners of the site. We all want to see the sites brought back to use and to make our town safe for all, I look forward to working with the council and the government to make that happen.”
The MP and Minister also discussed two government funds (Coastal Communities Fund and New Homes Bonus) which could benefit Newquay if the sites are brought back into use.
The news has been welcomed by Cornwall Councillor for Newquay Central ward, Geoff Brown.
He said: “Anything that helps to bring about the demolition of dangerous eyesores in Newquay is a positive move forward. We will just wait to see what the minister comes up with in concrete terms.
“It is all positive and Stephen is responding to a request from a meeting that Cornwall and town councillors had with him to press them to put in some appropriate legislation.
“We would like to see business rates [on buildings] dropped when the ground is level. At least then we would have and empty site.”