The possible sale of a Blackpool hotel which was ravaged by fire last year will be ‘tinged with sadness’ according to neighbouring businesses.
The Astoria on Albert Road, Blackpool, which suffered serious damage when the blaze broke out on January 20 last year, is to go under the hammer at noon on Thursday, February 27 at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. The guide price is £70,000-£80,000.
The owners were out at the cinema when the fire, believed to have been caused by a tumble dryer fault, ripped through the hotel. Around 75 firefighters were involved in tackling 15-foot high flames.
Insurers refused to pay out for the damage, arguing that the appliance should not have been left plugged in while the occupants were out.
Neighbours say they are sad the 27-bed hotel soon to be auctioned off by Pugh and Company has not been revived sooner.
Chris Moorhouse, owner of the Avon Hotel, which is also on Albert Road, said: “The owners were good friends of ours. We all want to see hotels like this up and running again but this will be tinged with sadness for us.
“I think the insurance claim is still going through the courts.”
Mr Moorhouse added that Albert Road remained a ‘prime spot’ and that empty hotels were not good for the area.
“When a building like this is left empty people soon notice and there have been a couple of break-ins and squatting incidents,” he said.
Jonathan Hartley, owner of The Malibu hotel next door to The Astoria, said: “It’s a very sad story.
“We want to see the building brought back into use because quite a few hotels have closed here over the last few years and it’s sad to see.
“When a place like this is boarded up it becomes an eyesore for the community and tourists.
“It’s doesn’t look too bad from the front at the moment and there are hotels which are still open that are in a worse condition but it will deteriorate if it is left for too long.”
Mr Hartley told of an incident not long after the fire when a burglar found nothing to steal after breaking into The Astoria but then got into his hotel through a side window.
“We heard a rustling downstairs and disturbed him but he escaped with £70.
“So anything is better than it remaining boarded up even if that means it being turned into multiple occupancy flats because there is a real need for more housing at the moment.”
The five-storey hotel is described by Pugh and Company as being in need or renovation. It includes 27 en-suite rooms.
The auctioneer says there has already been a ‘large amount’ of interest in the property, which is considered suitable for a variety of uses subject to receiving planning permission.