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Owner of Norwich’s MJB Hotels demands apology from Green Party councillor over ‘misleading’ claim

PUBLISHED: 14:04 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:09 30 November 2017

The former MJB hotel on Unthank Road in Norwich has now been bought by a property developer. Picture: Denise Bradley

The former MJB hotel on Unthank Road in Norwich has now been bought by a property developer. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

The properties may have closed, but controversy surrounding two former MJB hotels in Norwich continues.

Tony Burlingham from MJB Hotels has threatened legal action against a Green Party councillor.  Photo: Bill Smith. Tony Burlingham from MJB Hotels has threatened legal action against a Green Party councillor. Photo: Bill Smith.

Tony Burlingham, who ran the MJB Lodge and Bristol House hotels, is demanding an apology following a Green Party newsletter about the properties.

The Green Party had long campaigned to have the hotels closed because of years of complaints by neighbours about anti-social behaviour.

But Mr Burlingham claims a statement by Green Party city councillor Denise Carlo contains “misleading” information about why he sold the buildings on Unthank Road.

In the newsletter, the Nelson ward councillor wrote about her efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour at the properties by getting police and the city council involved.

Denise Carlo, Green Party city councillor, says she won't apologise to Mr Burlingham. Pic: Archant Library. Denise Carlo, Green Party city councillor, says she won't apologise to Mr Burlingham. Pic: Archant Library.

But Mr Burlingham claims the leaflet, entitled “Greens’ Hard Work on MJB Hotels pays off”, gives the impression that authorities forced him to sell, which he said was not true.

His solicitor has now sent a letter to Ms Carlo threatening legal action unless an apology is made.

“The sale of the hotels had nothing to do with her campaign,” Mr Burlingham said. “She had no impact on me at all.

“She has got to apologise and say that it was a misleading statement.”

The newsletter, which was distributed to residents living near the budget hotels, said a “dark chapter” had closed following their sale.

It said Green councillors had spent “countless hours” investigating and challenging police and the city council about the state of the properties.

Ms Carlo said the newsletter was related to her efforts to get police involved and denied the headline related to the hotels’ sale.

But in a letter, Mr Burlingham’s solicitor said: “The headline of the offending publication implies this is a credible, balanced news item and the sale of the two hotels is down to criminal activity that you uncovered in your purported private investigations.”

Ms Carlo said: “I am not apologising for trying to take action on behalf of residents.

“The headline does not relate to the sale of his property at all. It is related to police starting to take action after a very long time.”

The Lodge and Bristol House hotels were sold to a property developer earlier this year.

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