Carlisle Council row over derelict hotel future

image captionCranes have been brought in to remove the brickwork, and nearby shops have been boarded up to protect them

A political row has broken out over the future of a derelict hotel which has caused a street closure in Carlisle.

Brickwork from the Central Plaza Hotel has been threatening to fall into Victoria Viaduct.

The street's closure has led to traffic problems and hurt local businesses.

Conservatives on the council have called for the building to be de-listed and demolished, but the Labour administration says it is confident a developer can be found.

The Victorian building, which is Grade II-listed, has been empty for more than 13 years.

'Dangerous building'

Cranes have now been brought in to remove crumbling masonry from its facade, and two shops on the busy city centre street have had to close temporarily while work is carried out.

Gareth Ellis, deputy leader of the Conservatives, said: "We know currently that at least £250,000 has already been spent and we've got an unpublished report here which says [spend] another £600,000 on it and that isn't the end.

"We will have nothing to show for it except a dangerous building."

But the council's Labour leader said it was money well spent as the authority was in talks with a firm that had plans for a 60-bed hotel, with a restaurant and office space.

Colin Glover said: "I think there was fear that having done all of this work we'd get to this point they would say, 'no it's actually worse than we thought', but it hasn't phased them at all, they are serious about it."

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