Blaze prompts calls to speed up demolition

Smoke billowing from the Palm Beach Hotel
Smoke billowing from the Palm Beach Hotel
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Renewed calls have been made for the demolition of an eyesore hotel following the latest vandal attack.

Firefighters were called to the derelict Palm Beach Hotel on South Promenade at around 8.30pm on Wednesday after a fire was started, believed to have been deliberate.

Developers today said bulldozers are due to move onto the site by the end of September.

The property is owned by Blackpool Council whichbought it earlier this year for £450,000 through the Blackpool Housing Company Ltd in order to accelerate potential development.

Blackpool-based company Create Construction was granted planning permission last August to build a 130-bedroom hotel on the land.

A spokesman said: “Things are still progressing and we are aiming to commence demolition by the end of September.”

Waterloo councillor Derek Robertson, whose ward includes the Palm Beach, said: “I have been reporting to the council for the last three months people have been trying to break in.

“I want the demolition to happen as soon as possible. It is getting more and more of an eyesore and is not helping the businesses down there.”

Fellow ward councillor David O’Hara said: “I would like to see it demolished and I’m sure the council wants to clear the site. but sometimes legalities can hold things up.

“Things can be more complicated than it at first seems.”

Four fire engines were called out to attend Wednesday’s blaze and initially it was feared someone may be trapped inside.

Two men have also been jailed for starting a fire in the hotel in June 2014.

However a funding package is now in place for the redevelopment of the site, which also includes the Bourne Hotel and is expected to see a Hampton by Hilton hotel built on the land.

Blackpool Council is loaning £4.5m towards the scheme, while another £8m has been committed including £1m from Create Construction and £7m from a PLC pension fund.

Demolition is expected to cost around £400,000.