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City set to shut door on hotel's VIP entrance bid.

Byline: MARC WADDINGTON

A TOP Liverpool hotel looks likely to have its plans for an exclusive entrance rejected because city bosses are not sure which guests could be classed as VIPs The Hope Street Hotel claims it needs another door, to be sited in residential Hope Place, in order to meet the needs of its more high profile clientele.

But council officers said the term VIP is "ambiguous and open to abuse".

They point out that previous guests, including former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, had not been deterred from staying there because of a lack of an exclusive entrance.

Local residents have also objected to the application on the basis that they fear their quiet street will be overrun with packs of paparazzi and limousines.

A report to go before planners next week states that the hotel wants to use the side entrance between 11pm and 7am for "emergency purposes, disabled access and for purposes strictly in accordance with the prior agreement of the hotel management."

The report states that the hotel feels that "in order for it to be efficient and competitive and deliver its full range of services, the hotel management will need the flexibility to operate a second entrance which can be used occasionally when VIP customers require a more discreet entrance away from the main thoroughfare of Hope Street."

But the planning officer's report states: "Its late night use for a VIP entrance also calls into the question the difficulty of being able to enforce the condition from the local planning authority point of view.

"How is it possible to identify who a VIP is, or who has the prior approval of the management to use the entrance? By what criteria would the management determine who could use the door?" A spokeswoman for the hotel said: "A lot of people who might be classed as 'VIPs' are happy to go outside and sign photos, but there are some people who just want to come and go with the minimum of fuss."

CAPTION(S):

VIP: Ringo Starr leaves the Hope Street Hotel, which wants planning permission for a "VIP entrance", but city planners are opposed to the application
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2009
Words:367
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