Investing in Blackpool's historic former Clifton Hotel, now an Ibis, 'makes more sense'

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Blackpool's opposition leader says the council should consider buying and restoring the crumbling former Clifton Hotel instead of building a new hotel in the town centre.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the resort's Conservative group, claims it would make more sense because the Clifton in Talbot Square is better placed to attract guests than the proposed site of a Holiday Inn near North Station.

The former Clifton Hotel, now an Ibis

The former Clifton Hotel, now an Ibis

Read more here "They are letting the town down" - Talks stall over future of 'tatty' Blackpool Ibis hotel
The operators of the Grade II listed former Clifton Hotel, currently trading as an Ibis, have come in for criticism for allowing the historic building to fall into disrepair.

Coun Williams said if the council wanted to invest in hotels it should look into "buying the Clifton Hotel in Talbot Square which has enormous potential but is sadly looking very neglected.

"It could be redeveloped into a four star plus classic hotel and a showpiece right in the centre of town.

"It has nearby parking, sea views, easy access and a ground floor bar area which would enhance the business either as an upmarket bar or restaurant.

Artist's impression of the proposed Holiday Inn

Artist's impression of the proposed Holiday Inn

"Surely this is a better option than a pebble-dash concrete hotel tower at the wrong end of town with views across Dickson Road and the railway sidings."

The council is proposing to build a 144-bedroom hotel, set to be operated by Holiday Inn, on the site of Wilko's on Talbot Road as part of a £31m scheme which also includes a tram terminal and improved pedestrian access to North Station.

The development will kickstart the second phase of the Talbot Gateway where new council offices and a Sainsbury's supermarket have already been built.

Town hall officers are in talks with the owners of the former Clifton Hotel to try and find a solution which could include using money from the £1m Property Improvement Fund to upgrade town centre buildings.

A meeting of the full council in June heard the owners of the building , Yorkshire-based Brook Leisure, blamed the lack of investment on the failure to re-let the ground floor which previously housed a nightclub.

Blackpool Civic Trust first raised concerns about the state of the former Clifton Hotel, which dates back to 1865, in November 2016 when cracks appeared in the frontage.