Time is running out for a famous old Blackpool nightspot after plans to demolish it were formally submitted to the council.
Campaigners had hoped to save the Syndicate on Church Street but a reprieve now looks unlikely.
Proposals have been lodged for the demolition of the building – formerly the ABC Cinema – and for the use of the land as a car park with 65 spaces for up to five years.
But rumours persist as to what lies ahead for the site – with a hotel seen as hot favourite.
Explaining the decision to push ahead with demolition, a council spokesman said: “We’ve looked at various options people have brought forward for the building but did not feel that any of those were viable in the long-term.
“As a result we are now actively pursuing other re-development opportunities for the area, starting with the demolition of the building.
“This includes a number of options and ways to compliment the Winter Gardens and the future of events and conferencing in Blackpool. This could potentially include a hotel.”
This is the first time the council has openly made a direct link between the old Syndicate building and using it as a tool to encourage more conferences to the town.
The loss of major political rallies has been a huge talking point in recent years.
And opposition Tory leader Coun Tony Williams said he believed a new hotel was “probably a done deal”.
Coun Fred Jackson, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration confirmed there were “sensitive conversations taking place at the moment”, but said he could not expand on what they were.
He added: “We do hope a hotel is one of the options and that will link in with the Winter Gardens and the people that use its facilities.”
Coun Williams said: “I would like to have seen all the options for the site pursued before a decision was made.
“Blackpool has lots of hotels but I suppose anything is better than a car park.
“I think it’s probably a done deal by now. I would think it’s probably a budget hotel chain.”
Blackpool Council agreed to pay £635,000 for the building in December last year but the total cost of the scheme is estimated at £1.3m, including the cost of demolition.
In its heyday the complex played host to entertainment greats including The Beatles, and Morecambe and Wise before being transformed into a cinema and then into Britain’s biggest nightclub.
The Syndicate closed in August 2011 after nine years at the centre of the town’s clubbing scene.
A Facebook campaign to save the venue attracted around 1,500 supporters.
Council chiefs agreed to listen to alternative proposals but firm plans, backed by investment, failed to emerge.
The site is seen as key to the regeneration of the town centre and the council hope eventually to redevelop the site in order to support investment in areas including the new Central Business District.
But Jon Bamborough, organiser of the Blackpool Music Festival, who helped launch the campaign to save the Syndicate, said he was dismayed that demolition looked set to go ahead.
He said: “I’m not surprised, but I am very disappointed.
“We’ve got the Blackpool Music Festival next month across assorted venues in the town and the Syndicate, had it been able to be saved, would have been a perfect venue for events like that.
“It could have potentially been a great venue like the Apollo in Manchester and it would have helped us to potentially attract even bigger bands to our festival.
“I agree the town needs to move on but a lot of the original building is still there and it is structurally sound.”