Seafront hotel owner claims caravans ruining views of Weymouth Bay

12:00pm Saturday 9th June 2012

By Rachel Stretton

A HOTEL owner claims caravans that look ‘like public toilets’ are ruining his guests’ view of the seafront.

David Knight, owner of the Leam Hotel, said his guests cannot see Weymouth Bay from the lounge area of his property after the caravans appeared on the Esplanade.

He said: “It’s terrible. We pay extortionate business rates, being a seafront hotel.

“Why should we do that and then have that view taken away from us?”

Mr Knight said he has guests from as far away as Scotland who come to enjoy the view.

“They are paying to have the sea view, and some even bring their binoculars to see the boats, and then they arrive and it looks like there are public toilets on the Esplanade.”

He added: “There has been absolutely no consultation, and when guests ask me how long they will be there for, I have to say I have no idea.

“It puts people off coming down.”

The three caravans are part of the Haven Caravan Show, which has been on the seafront over the past week.

As reported in the Echo in April, the sponsorship deal between Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and Haven Littlesea Holiday Park is worth £20,000, which includes caravan shows on the seafront as well as branding of tourism leaflets and events brochures.

Dave Price, of the hotel and guesthouse leaseholders association, said: “I do not think it is appropriate having the caravans in that location.

“They do not look very nice and I’ve had general bad comments about them from guests myself.

“They tend to turn up around bank holidays and stay for a few days or a week, but the council never consults us.”

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council defended the decision to rent the land to Haven for the show.

Councillor Mike Goodman, chairman of the management committee, said: “Haven Caravan Show is currently using the borough council’s multi-purpose activities and entertainment site next to the Jubilee clock.

“The site has been used for numerous activities, including caravan promotion, for many years and is a very popular venue for events and activities throughout the year.

“Money generated from the site is invested back into the borough events programme, which further stimulates the economy, promotes Weymouth and Portland as a great destination to visit and provides support to community activities.”

But Mr Knight said the caravans were “dumped” without prior warning right in front of his hotel.

“We used to have the fairground on our doorstep, which we didn’t mind because it was a bit of a novelty.

“Then that was moved down the road and we got the caravans.”

He added: “This has been going on for a while now but it’s getting a bit too regular.

“It’s just another example that the council don’t care about tourists or hotel owners.

“We have had a bad time recently and this is just another kick in the chops.”

Council decision

A SPOKESWOMAN for Haven said: “We are told by the council where the caravans will be placed along the seafront.

“However, we are sorry if hoteliers feel it is spoiling their guests’ views.”

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