3 July 2010

 

 

Looking after what we have may be more important than development.

Over the last few months the management at the Celtic Royal Hotel have been concerned about quite a few problems in Caernarfon and have aired their views on the future of the hotel and Caernarfon in general.

The Celtic Royal is the largest hotel in Caernarfon, it is a three star hotel and provides first class rooms, conference facilities and a state of the art Spa. Its presence in town is of such importance that any disruption to the service they provide may have a knock on effect on the town. In the past the management has pointed out that the one way system is killing the town, yet, months after pointing this out, nothing has been done to rectify the problem.

Businesses on Bangor Stret  are closing down at an alraming rate, to the point that the main road into town may soon become a ghost street. In the last two years. The Prince of Wales Hotel, the ATS garage, Caernarfon Pine, Adfer Flooring Soled Out and Ty Bach Twt have all closed down.With the former Prince of Wales now looking rough and derelict and the former ATS garage boarded up what does this mean to the guests that choose the Celtic Royal as their holiday destination? Is this the look we want to give the world when visitors come to stay here?

The photo above looks like it has been split in two, with the centre line having a convenient lamp post dividing the two sides. On the right we see a first class establishment which has been the pride of Caernarfon for many years and on the left we see the derelict ATS garage, boarded up and gowning weeds by the day. Further down we see the Prince of Wales Hotel deteriorating and fast becoming an eyesore.

Up against it!

 

 

If this wasn't enough to put up with, the Celtic Royal are now up against another venue trying to compete for the same customers. It has been announced that Doc Fictoria owners Watkin Jones are now planning to put in an application for a gymnasium at the site.

The Celtic Royal management are concerned that such a venture will mean that the hotel may have to close during the quiet season.

In a letter addressed to Gwynedd Council they state "It is with great concern that we write to you about the application made by Watkin Jones for a Gymnasium at the Victoria Dock."  

They claim that the Doc Fictoria  development was intended to bring more tourism into Caernarfon, employ a large number of people and was "heavily funded by public money". They state that in their opinion the development had "not brought in any additional tourist to the area".

They go on to say that  "each establishment at the dock is run by the absolute minimal number of staff and that the entire publicly funded development has brought nothing to the area apart from undermining private established businesses."

The Celtic Royal boasts a superb modern Spa which has been very popular with locals and visitors alike, yet the management claim,
"The membership at the Spa are at the same level as they have been for the last 5 years"  and "despite offering  competitive membership fees they are far from running at maximum capacity".

JD sports (formerly JJB) opened a gym in Bangor a few years back and according the letter sent the management explain that
"At the time the Celtic Spa numbers dropped by 30%" They claim that they have not been able to rebuild the loss and baring in mind that they also have Arfon Leisure Centre in town they believe "there is no need or demand for another gymnasium".

They explain that due to high running costs and maintenance of running a state of the art complex, they could not sustain further reduction in membership. They stated that "Many local children learn to swim at their Spa every year, added to this a number of local pensioners and public sector workers use their facilities throughout the year. The letter claims that their membership at the Celtic Spa are lower than that of JD Sports and have not increased in the last 10 years.

New Hotels

Concerns about the two new low budget hotels are also made by the management, they state "The Celtic Royal lost a large amount of business to the town new hotels (Premier Inn and Travel Lodge at Doc Fictoria), especially in the low season winter months. They claim that "In the winter months the membership fees from the Celtic Spa is a very important income to maintain the hotel".

They also have concerns about parking at the dock if the new Gymnasium is given the go ahead as carparks were already at full capacity during peak times.

The Worrying and Alarming Claim

The management also explained

"If the Celtic Royal Hotel's winter trade does not improve in 2010/11 they will have no alternative but to close the hotel in January and February 2012."

The letter was signed by Markus and Sinead Donsbach who are Directors at The Celtic Royal Hotel.

 

If this is the case then it could be catastrophic to the town and would certainly not be the image neither Gwynedd or the Town Council would want to see.

N.B. Planning applications cannot be refused for reasons of "competition".

The council will have to decide the application on its own merits and if there is no "planning issues" then they will have no opition but to approve.


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