Britannia ‘worst hotel’ shame proves London Road Fire Station ‘needs new owners’

The Friends of London Road Fire Station say Britannia Hotels being voted the ‘worst hotel chain in the UK’ proves the group have ‘no intention of redeveloping’ the derelict grade II listed building.

Britannia Hotels scored a shocking 33% on average in customer satisfaction scores, based on a study from Which? magazine.

Which? polled thousands of hotel guests over the last year, rating 29 chains based in nine categories, including cleanliness, customer service and value for money.

Britannia Hotels owns Sachas Hotel on Tib Street in Manchester city centre, along with Airport Hotel on Palatine Road in Northenden and London Road Fire Station, which has stood dormant and undeveloped for 29 years.

Adam Prince, Secretary for the group, said: “This latest study shows Britannia is the kind of company you would never want to redevelop such an important building, although it is unlikely they have any intentions of doing so.

“A lot of workers at the hotel have been in touch and now it is good that the public are commenting on the state of the buildings they’ve stayed in and how they are keeping their hotels. It’s simply not acceptable for London Road Fire Station.

“We still don’t know the levels of damage Britannia Hotels have done to London Road, but it has to end now.

“The building is a key part of Manchester’s architectural and historical heritage and the rot needs to stop.”

Britannia Hotels was awarded just one star for categories including cleanliness the state of the bedrooms, and whether the description of the hotel matched reality.

The Altrincham-based group also came at the bottom of the heap last year, scoring a shameful 36%.

Customers this time round criticised the hotels for being ‘run down’ and ‘well past their best-buy dates’.

These feelings of disappointment have been echoed by The Friends of London Road Fire Station, who have spoken out against the hotel group, claiming they have allowed the building to fall into disrepair. 

Britannia Hotels has applied for planning permission eight times and been granted it three times, yet has failed to act on each occasion.

Frustrated at Britannia’s lack of action, Manchester City Council tried to force a compulsory purchase order (CPO) through in 2010.

The CPO failed and the council has since been obliged to extend the current planning permission on technical grounds.

The Friends of London Road Fire Station are now backing plans for the council to launch a fresh compulsory purchase order to force Britannia Hotels to sell the iconic building.

Last month, campaigners for London Road Fire Station ‘cautiously welcomed’ the council’s promise to discuss launching a fresh compulsory purchase order challenge to buy the building. 

A recent report from the English heritage placed the fire station opposite Manchester Piccadilly as in the top five buildings ‘most at risk of being lost through neglect, decay or inappropriate development’.

“What is good about this latest survey is the fact that this is engaging the public in the debate around the Britannia hotel group, the fire station and addressing the issues surrounding the beautiful space that’s being selfishly denied to the people of Manchester,” Adam said.

“In the last CPO the council did not involve the public enough but there is a real public interest in seeing the building restored. 

“We want as many people to get involved and show their support for having London Road Fire Station brought back to its stunning former glory.”

Image courtesy of Ben Sutherland, with thanks.

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