Concern over future plans for city hotel

Fishergate Guesthouse, 68 Fishergate, Preston, which has been sold at auction
Fishergate Guesthouse, 68 Fishergate, Preston, which has been sold at auction
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Concerns have been sparked after a hotel that was once closed by police after becoming a magnet for trouble was bought at auction for £200,000.

The Fishergate Guest House, on Fishergate Hill, Preston, which was known for housing people on the “margins of society”, was bought by a businessman after its owners decided to retire.

The property failed to sell at auction in May but was snapped up in July.

Traders have voiced fears after Starting Fresh Residentials – which runs nearby Clifton Hotel – confirmed it is in talks with the new owner to use the building to house clients.

The 14-room building, formerly known as Alma Hotel, had been the source of misery for residents and businesses in previous years and was closed by police in 2009 after becoming a magnet for drink and drug abusers.

It re-opened 15 months later under the management of Ted Hart, and although he and his wife Sarah worked hard to improve its image and attract clients such as contract workers, it continued to be used for emergency homeless accommodation.

Vasu Bonda, of Starting Fresh Residentials, said: “We are in talks about how we could use the property but nothing is confirmed. I am meeting the owner. We are still doing some research.”

Many residents and traders have been affected over the years by anti-social behaviour from clients in both properties.

Ken Batty, who has run a chartered surveyors for 20 years, has written to the council.

He said: “I am concerned for homeless people – it can happen to anyone.

“But some of the people have no intention of getting on the straight and narrow.

“The police did an excellent job, why reintroduce the problem for them?”

A member of staff at Nutty Butties, a nearby sandwich shop, said: “We are concerned that it will go back to how it used to be.

“It needs to be a properly managed establishment.”

Police in the area say they will be keeping a close eye on the property.

PC Carl Ingram, neighbourhood officer for Broadgate, said: “ Police will be working with the new owners as a partnership to ensure issues that have affected the area previously don’t reoccur and anti- social behaviour is kept to a minimum.”

The Evening Post attempted to contact the owner, known only as Ilyas, but Preston-based AMS Solicitors, acting on his behalf, declined to divulge any information.