A ONE-OFF Bournemouth event that brings together science fiction fans from around the world has been “forced out” of the town.
The SF Ball, which takes place annually at the Carrington House Hotel, will move to Southampton, despite 20 years of success in Bournemouth.
The move comes after plans to convert conference rooms at the Britannia-owned hotel into more bedrooms were revealed to organisers B Jones, Anne Lindup and James Ash.
B said: “We’ve been at the Carrington for 18 years, so it’s a real shame.
“They’ve decided to turn the space we use every year into more bedrooms.
“They clearly aren’t interested in the tens of thousands of pounds the SF Ball brings in every year.”
The event was held in Bournemouth for the last time at the weekend, when stars from the world of cult television, including the eighth Doctor Who Paul McGann, drew huge crowds to the hotel.
More than £4,500 was raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and McGann praised the ‘friendliness’ of the convention.
He told the Daily Echo: “It’s great that it’s associated with a charity as well – that’s not always the case, and conventions can be quite corporate.
“There are lots of volunteers working here to make it good fun for everyone, and people have come from all over the world to be here, so it’s wonderful.”
“We have known the staff here for years, and we know this hotel inside out,” said B.
“It means that, in the off-season, this hotel and around six associated hotels in the town are full for three or four nights, so to be pushed out like this is frustrating.”
But she said she was looking forward to moving the event to Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton next year.
“It’s bigger, it’s a five-star hotel and it’s just had a £4.5 million refit, so we’re very happy,” she said.
“We see it as an opportunity for the Ball to become bigger, brighter and better.”
Britannia Hotels had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.