The 27-year delay in turning a former fire station in the centre of Manchester into a four-star hotel has taken a new twist with Britannia Hotels applying for an extension to the planning permission granted in 2010 to convert the building.
With its patience running out, Manchester City Council applied for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to buy the fire station. However, the council lost the CPO inquiry after Britannia's owner, Alex Langsam, insisted in a letter of 9 June 2011 that he would fund and implement the conversion of the building to a hotel "as soon as reasonably possible."
Britannia Hotels has now applied to Manchester City Council for an extension of three more years to the planning permission granted in 2010.
Campaigners from the Friends of London Road Fire Station group are urging the council to reject Britannia's latest application and look to buy the building again.
Adam Prince, spokesperson for the Friends group, told Manchester Evening News that if the council granted the extension it would be "an embarrassment".
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Manchester City Council said: "We share the Friends of London Road's strong desire to see this fine heritage building back in use and making a positive contribution to the regeneration of the area.
"It is a matter of great concern that the previous planning application has not been acted upon and we are determined to do all we can to encourage progress. Despite Britannia's previous record, we are legally obliged to assess each application based on whether it meets planning guidelines."
A date has yet to be set for the application extension to be heard by the council.