Teignmouth Town Council in Devon is considering acquiring a hotel which is designed to be fully accessible for visually impaired people.
The 47-bedroom, three-AA-star Cliffden hotel, run by Action for Blind People under the banner of Vision Hotels, has been under threat since the charity announced three of its properties, including the Cliffden, were no longer financially viable. The profits from the hotels all go to the charity.
At the council's finance and general purposes meeting on 14 March, councillor Roy Phillips proposed the council should purchase the property to "ensure that the hotel continues in its current use". A working group has been set up to look into the feasibility of raising the approximately £2m needed to acquire and upgrade the hotel. Offers in excess of £1.35m are currently being sought for the property.
The hotel is owned by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and is currently continuing to be operated by Action for Blind People.
Local visual impairment charity VI Talk is also interested in purchasing the building and has so far crowdfunded £8,380 of a £1.3m target, with the deadline date set at 30 March.
A spokesperson from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which will incorporate Action for Blind People from next month, said: "When Action for Blind People announced that we'd made the difficult decision to stop running the three Vision Hotels, we also said we were doing everything we could to ensure the hotels stayed open under new management.
"As such, Cliffden Hotel is being marketed for sale as a ‘going concern'. We're hopeful that suitable buyers can be found in an appropriate time frame and that the hotels will remain open under new management.
"However, Cliffden Hotel cannot remain on the market indefinitely. We are working closely with Guide Dogs, which owns Cliffden Hotel, to find a suitable buyer as quickly as possible. Any final decisions about this hotel will be made by Guide Dogs."
A spokesperson for Guide Dogs confirmed it had received interest in the property, but was not in a position to comment on any particular bidder.
The charity also confirmed another of the three hotels, the 37-bedroom Lauriston hotel in Weston-super-Mare, has been sold to the Weston College Group, leaving the 35-bedroom Windermere Manor hotel in Cumbria.
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