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I, along with a few others, have gone for the apartment option - works out at £90 each over the 4 nights.

I live in the West Midlands and this is exactly the sort of problem I feared. Labour found Manchester a rip-off when they had their conference there in 2006. Big cities will use delegates as a cash cow.

Although I am delighted that this year I'll save a few quid, I think activists will quickly realise that Birmingham is not what it is cracked up to be.

In fact some may even pine for Blackpool :-)

There are plenty of places here in Brum, it depends how far you want to travel.

Welcome to the free market.

I am staying at the Premier Inn Canalside which I booked some months ago - Annabel Herriott is staying there too. They are good value for money - you pay up front when you arrive and they do a fantastic brekkie including porridge - AND have brilliant power showers!! Go to www.premierinn.com for more info!

For the first time since 1967 I shall not be attending the Conference due to the lack of sensibly priced accommodation within walking distance of the Conference Centre. I started searching for a room in November 2007 and gave up in June. I even wrote to the Lord Mayor of the City and all I received back was the standard list of accommodation which I had already been given by the Birmingham representatives at Blackpool last year. The nearest Guest Houses and small hotels seem to be in Hagley Road which is about three quarters of an hours walk (if you could find a room there which I don't think you can. To stay near the ICC starts at about £90 B & B. On top of that there are Car-Parking charges. The evening events which many of us like to attend go on until the early hours. That means a taxi or a very long walk through the streets of Birmingham. The advantage of Blackpool Brighton & Bournemouth
is that you can leave the security zone and go straight to your hotel within minutes and it is reasonably priced. Many of us, who give up all of our spare time and money, without questioning it look forward to the Conference as a sort of reward to ourselves
for the work we love doing for the Party we passionately support. We also take time off from work, as part of our holiday entitlement. We now feel excluded which is a great shame, especially since we have been there through all the tough years of opposition when Exhibitors, and those who get paid to attend were rather thin on the ground. Next year, I understand we are signed up for Manchester, which I know well and the situation will be the same there. I also am told we are booked for Birmingham and Manchester for the 2 years after that. It is sad that just as we back on the up many of us who have given up much of our lives for the Party cannot have our little bit back. What happened to Dan Hannan's Campaign launched at Blackpool last year to bring the Conference back to Brighton?

Most people are having to pay £90 per night, where as Blackpool was normally less than £20 per night. The joys of conference in the big cities!

Fair enough, Northerner but at least you are less likely to be staying in a room where you find hair in the plughole of your shower (as I did once in Blackpool!) or have your dinner accidentally tipped all over you in what is supposed to be a top hotel restaurant (as happened to someone rather higher up the party than myself in Blackpool a few years back)!

Don't count on it.

Sally Roberts is right about Blackpool which is also the most depressing place on the planet in the early autumn. Bring back Brighton. And what about Southport and Southend as future venues? Both have excellent conference facilities and a plethora of hotel accommodation.

I will keep my fingers crossed Deborah!

Paul I agree with you about Brighton which I know well (my grandparents used to live in Hove and one of my nieces til recently lived at the Kemp Town end). Southend? Well, I am not sure though it would keep the Essex Contingent happy which has to be a good thing - AND one of the host MPs would be my excellent former boss David Amess!!

It was Travelodge all the way for us! Conveniently located [but pretty damn pricey] but it was really the only thing we could find - and we booked this in February!

There are some reasonably priced B&B's in Selly Oak, and it's 5 mins on the train to the ICC

Golly, maybe there was a reason why the tradition of using out of season seaside resorts was a good one, in umpteen different ways?

I'm at Con and Lab conferences this year in B'ham and Manchester respectively.

B'ham is costing £150 per night with a 4 night minumim.

But I suspect it will be even worse next year in Manchester - Lab hotel is costing (my company) £270 per night, 4 nights min.

Only an asthmatic snail could take 3/4 hour to walk from the Hagley Road to the ICC. As the snail staggers along, it might notice large, double-decked, wheeled things passing it, approximately every 3 minutes, heading in the same direction.

Bloody capitalism. Can't we just take hotel accommodation in central Birmingham into 'temporary public ownership' or maybe get a mortgage from our local council?

There are lots of winnable seats for us in Birmingham, there are only two in Blackpool.

I'm being taken to the cleaners, albeit in a comfortable environment.

Well, all those snobs who have been banging on about bad Blackpool is will be happy.....

"There are lots of winnable seats for us in Birmingham, there are only two in Blackpool."

If you exclude Sutton Coldfield which we already hold, there are only two winnable seats in Birmingham too - Edgbaston and Selly Oak (where we need swings of 2% and 8.6% respectively).

If we do really really well then we might pick up Northfield as well (10%) but Erdington (15%), Hall Green (13.7%), Hodge Hill (19.3%), Ladywood (22.1%), Perry Barr (14.5%) and Yardley (24.2%) are probably out of reach this time around.

The hotel prices will drive away a large proportion of the activists who cannot afford over £100 per night. The Conservative Party conference will be like Labour's - dominated by bureaucrats, lobbyists and PR spivs with large expense accounts. That is exactly what Francis Maude wanted. He despises the party members and their un-PC views.

It's not just the hotel rooms that are more expensive. Hotel prices for fringe meetings are three to five times more than Blackpool or Bournemouth. The scarcity of fringe venues has driven most to book the ICC or the Hyatt. Policy Exchange will be in the Jury's Inn.

The fringe guide indicates that around 90% of fringe meetings are in the ICC or Hyatt. The main hosts are large left-wing charities, pressure groups and the quangocracy. The right-wing think tanks are partnering left-wing groups who have larger budgets.

Hopeb you enjoy the Blue Labour conference. The true Conservative meetings are very few and outside the zone, away from the lefties in the ICC and Hyatt.

The key is to find Tory friends who live in Birmingham! Both sofas in my flat in New Street (5 mins from conference) are already taken.

As others have pointed out, there are loads of £17 a night B&Bs barely a 5 minute bus ride away from the ICC on the Hagley Road. Far cheaper than I could find in Bournemouth.

A couple of years ago, I facetiously suggested that we hold Spring Forum in Malaga: cheaper to get there than Gateshead and plenty of good, cheap accommodation.

Well I've also gone down the luxury apartment route (about 10 minutes walk to the ICC) and it's costing £25 per person per night... but if I had the whole sodding place to myself it would still only be £125 per night, so quite where £150 per night and £270 per night are coming from I've no idea.

I think the party are putting on a free shuttle bus between hotels further out (especially those on the hagley road) and the conference centre?

I am staying at the Etap which is in the town centre and only costs £40 a night but if it's now fully booked I found this list of the cheap b&bs/hotels here http://www.conservativesinbirmingham.co.uk/html/Guest%20House%20List.pdf

How about Newcastle/Gateshead where spring conference was held. Alternatively take your caravan as we did to Brighton many years ago- worth hiring/ borrowing one


I was also thinking of both the Dudleys and the Wolverhampton seats, which are well within range next time. Defeating the odious Ian Austin will be a particular highlight on election night.

And how we lost Solihull to the Lib Dems last time is a mystery that only John Taylor can explain................

I booked the Central Plaza Travelodge last October for this years conf., so have had no problems.

Or am I just very sad?

Another idea is to hire a barge that can be parked within spitting distance of the venues. Also, you may wish to explore options in Digbeth and Highgate if budget is a factor.

If a committed activist wants to be involved, there's absolutely no reason why budget should be a problem.

I've booked in to a new hotel called Nite-Nite. The rooms are tiny pods, but have 42" plasma tellies and lots of other gadgetry. The main plus is that they have no windows, so I won't be able to see Birmingham. It's very central, so handy for the main fringe event at the Conference - The Freedom Zone - http://www.tfa.net/the_freedom_association/futureevents.html

We'll get Solihull back if we back the excellent candidate who is working hard..

Thank God, I will be staying with realtives.

YBF have rented a couple of apartments in the city centre. We have a couple of beds left so if interested contact me - [email protected].

I have to say, depressing as it was (area-wise), I didn't have any problems with Blackpool hotels.

The last conference I attended was back in 2003. I was very tempted to go this year but the lack of affordable accomodation within walking distance put me off.

I can't afford £90 a night. Nor do I want to stay somewhere that isn't local to 'where it's happening'.

Brighton is a very good idea. What about Perth as well?

As others have said bring back Brighton - and what a good idea - a caravan! I am not very keen on big cities these days especially at night.

Justin - that wouldn't be Perth, Australia I am sure - yellow sand, navy blue sea warm enough to swim in, yummy!

Libertarian, I agree 100% with your comments.

The party wants a 4 day photo call with no annoying activists who might actually be Tories.

Most of the Associations I know are full of loyal activists who went to conference as a seaside holiday, an enjoyable meeting of friends They are mostly not going for the first time years.

Yes, Perth, Au (-:

I hav ebeen staying in Birmningham on business for ten years and the room rates have NOT been increased for conference, they are always astronomical. That said, all the hotels in the immediate vicinity of the ICC are modern and hopefully do not display the usual traits of Blackpool, Brighton or Bournemouth, namely rock hard or lumpy beds, pissy dribble showers, standard fare fat drenched bacon/egg/sausage breakfasts etc etc.

There's cheap and there's nasty - the two tend to go together!

The bus service is free to conference goers by the way - as the trams were in Blackpool - you just need to remember that you can't get one at 3.00am when you finally get chucked out of the Hyatt Regency bar.

Don't sleep at all. Join me and other Tories at the Subside rock bar until 6am Sunday morning and sleep it off along with the duffers in the main hall. Birmingham is far more conveniently located than any seaside venue.

These libertarians aren't what they used to be. Absolutely pathetic.

I managed to book a couple of weeks ago - but I usually leave it until the week before and get a cancellation going cheap. £70 a night inc breakfast is not too bad, en suite, parking, restaurant in the building.
And not far to go to conference.
You just have to stay on the web and hold patience in hand - there is a place for you in Birmingham. You can get it if you really want, as they say.

Justin - I like it!!!

As a student, the prices put me off. Hotels, flights, food, plus the cost of the conference itself is just too much for me to pay. Disappointing really.

@ London Tory

Fair enough if you include other seats in the West Midlands - but then of course the same can be said about Lancashire where there's a whole swathe of marginal seats.

Prices are not really an issue. £80 per night for a twin room is good value! In any case, if you are prepared to take a short 5 minute walk along Broad Street, there are plenty of great value independently run places to eat etc.

Anything but Blackpool!

Labour's hotels are expensive because they're blocked-booked years in advance by someone acting on behalf of the party and sold on at a very high rate, hence hotels that normally cost £75 for a top room are charged at £225 for a basic.

Lobbyists and corporate people (almost entirely public sector) will pay anything and indeed do so. The Labour Party cream money off the top of these rates which brings them in a healthy sum of money.

Another obvious issue is that there are very few B&Bs in city centres whereas seaside resorts have many, therefore the couple of dozen big hotels can be booked out pretty easily.

If you attend all three conferences corporately, you'll see that the cost of attending Labour conference (for a balcony pass and a full week's worth of hotels within a 10 minute walk of the secure zone) will come to at least double the cost of attending the other two. The Conservative conference has cheaper commercial passes than the LibDems and Bournemouth is always suprisingly expensive unless you're in a real pit of a B&B or you know it well enough to know where the secret gems of hotels are located.

Richard Robinson's point is correct - if the conference was in the Med it would cost less to get there and less for hotels. Palma would be perfect in October - no tourists, plenty of flights, hotels etc... In fact, if we had to be a little Englander party and have our conference in this country, by far the best place to have a conference in terms of accessibility, facilities and cost would be... Heathrow Airport.

Oh yes, Labour do not have their autumn conferences in Birmingham because they cannot guarantee enough hotel rooms. This has been a problem of late because of stories of people having to stay at Gatwick to attend conferences in Brighton.

According to people who organise large conferences, the only places now capable of hosting conferences of up to 15,000 people are Bournemouth, Manchester and Heathrow.

Birmingham, Brighton, Liverpool and even Wembley fall because of a lack of hotels; Blackpool falls down on a large conference centre.

I have only just booked, and have managed to get a 1 double bedroom apartment for £65 a night less than 10 mins walk away.
A friend also recommended www.nitenite.com which seemed to have some rooms when I looked.

I thought about only coming for 3 nights instead of the usual 4 I would go for, to cut down the cost, which is always an option for people wanting to save a bit of money.

Also as a Londoner I am welcoming the 90 min direct train journey instead of the 4 hour and 90 min train journey (with changes) that it is to Blackpool.

I've just got 3 nights for £120 using the on-line booking via the conference site.

Anyone staying at the Nite Nite can walk to Wetherspoons for a cheaper breakfast than available on site...

I imagine Birmingham was chosen because the conference facilities are more business like than Blackpool. Indeed they are but this year only corporate people can afford to attend speeding teh transition from political event to trade show. Given the recent history of the party this might be deliberate? Would not want these pesky activists upseting things. My vote is seaside towns with accomadation or perhaps Edinburgh to make a statement? As it is it might as well be in Las Vegas.

Oh yes, please let it be in Las Vegas - that would be so much better than anywhere in the UK!



What about getting several large fields, tents and port-a-loos - Music Festival style?

Tim - are Jigsaw paying for these advertising puffs? If not, how about deleting them? We don't want to set a precedent for free publicity with cheeky dastards clogging up the threads.

Plus, Jigsaw mightn't sell us much needed tents!!

As I live in the Midlands, I can go to Birmingham for the day & come back if I can afford the train & whatever fees the Tories charge me. I'd quite like to see that fringe meeting with The Devil, Iain Dale, Dizzy, Guido & Mad Nad. If I'd had enough drink before going in I might just end up agreeing with them!

I am only going for the Sunday night and booked up recently (just taking one day off work and will return to London late on Monday evening). I wanted a decent quality hotel within staggering distance of the security corden. When I searched for 4* and above most of the rooms offered in Birmingham did not meet this criterion as they were near the NEC (wrong conference centre). I have landed up paying an arm and a leg for my one night. Perhaps I can sub-contact the other half of the double bed...(females 20 to 45 only need apply (bring a friend) LOL).

I assume the above is acceptable, Editor, as you seem to be allowing advertising.

Thanks for accommodation the tips here. I booked up this afternoon.

The Freedom Association's "Freedom Zone" looks fantastic - a full two-day programme of sound speakers. The organisers have done a fantastic job in securing such a strong line-up of speakers. It is far better than the PC lefty nonsense in the ICC and Hyatt. It looks like I will be spending most of my time in Austin Court.

One can always stay in Coventry and hop on a coach or Train to Birmingham. It is much cheaper to do that.
Send them all to Coventry.

Londoner, I was willing to let the first post go by as it seemed a genuine relevant offer, but the follow up spam made clear it should all go.

Anon, I am astonished by your assertion, "Labour do not have their autumn conferences in Birmingham because they cannot guarantee enough hotel rooms." Surely Labour don't need many hotel rooms these days?!/!

For once I am sitting pretty (or should I say sleeping pretty). I am fortunate to own a narrowboat so I shall be mooring-up in Gas Street and will have a five minute walk! I am open to offers for my four spare berths!

1. Ak23566 wins the prize for having secured the best accomm!

2. Praguetory you're on.

3. I now understand why keith started on at me the moment I got back from Blackpool. I booked a nice-looking room next to conf about a year ago for nothing like the prices mentioned above. What a bore-on. Oh well.

4. Paul Oakley is right. As ever! Brighton is the best city in the country and surely the best conference venue imaginable. Not to mention all those target seats. Brighton 2009. CCHQ the people have spoken!

Bournemouth yes but paid £80 for a room a good 25 minutes walk up a hill from the Convenstion centre on the oppsite side of the town. Blackpool was cheaper approx £75 plus car parking for a small very poor quality 2* hotel about as far from the venue as Hagley Road. Birmingham is a great Conference venue and so is Manchester, what is this obsession with the sea, similar standard hotels cost a similar price but it is hard to find similar standard hotels in the like of Blackpool. We booked in March for the City Inn, not cheap but central, but we coud have booked the Ibis or other economy hotels all close to the ICC you just need to be orgnaised. At least we are going to a vibrant lively city and not some tired grey off season costal town!!

I'm afraid both Euston and Marylebone services to Birmingham on the Saturday and Sunday will be affected by engineering works, so the train journey will be two hours on the way up whichever way you go. That said it is less than £40 return if you book the Marylebone service now.

My short let apartment doesn't include parking, but there are places in B'ham not far away where it is only £5 a day, so I'm thinking of driving anyway. Contact me if you want a lift from East London and are happy to share the petrol/parking costs.

Graeme - shame on you fellow-Londoner: London is the best city. You can have Brighton as the next best, but solidarity please!

I have a furnished room with en-suite, wifi t.v. etc, to rent if anyone is interested, within a home of a friendly Birmingham family. 3 mins walk to train at Bournville, 12 mins journey time to City Centre. room only reasonable rent.
[email protected]

I wanted to research this subject and write a paper. Your post what a thousand words would not. Nice job.


Oh, for goodness sake stop your moaning.

Birmingham is a major city, what do you expect if you stay in the city centre?

Walk down the Square, through the library food hall bit, left up Edmund Street, take a ten minute train ride from Snow Hill and there are a LOT of cheap but nice places to stay.

Or are you afraid of the natives....

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