Initial hopes of preserving parts of the Grade II*-listed Claremont hotel in Eastbourne “may not now be possible” following a second collapse of the hotel façade earlier this week.
A large section of the facade collapsed on Monday night after Storm Ciara brought gusts of up to 97mph to much of the country over the weekend, leaving the remains of the fire-hit property “unstable” and “hazardous”. Demolition work could begin as early as tomorrow, if weather conditions allow.
A statement from Eastbourne Borough Council said: “Following the second collapse of the hotel façade earlier this week, plans are being prepared for the start of demolition works.
“These collapses have left the remains of the building unstable and clearly hazardous, so regrettably, initial hopes of preserving elements of the 2* listed hotel may not now be possible.
“The demolition work required is highly complex, not least because of the adjoining Burlington hotel and other adjacent properties.
“The work is subject to final permissions being achieved. Council officers are liaising with the hotel owner and their appointed demolition contractor in order to achieve this. Demolition machinery will be transported to the site tomorrow, 13 February.
“While not confirmed, it is possible that the demolition work will begin on Friday, 14 February. This is dependent on various factors, including the weather conditions.
“We are keeping local residents and businesses updated and will continue to work with all our partners in order to return this section of seafront to normal, as soon as possible.”
The 72-bedroom hotel was hit by a fire in November last year, which destroyed much of the building, parts of which have continued to collapse since the blaze, with site debris known to be contaminated with asbestos.
The local authority had given the green light for owner Daish Holidays and its contractor to begin demolition preparatory work just hours before the latest collapse.
The cause of the fire, which spread rapidly through the Victorian building, is being investigated. All guests and staff were evacuated, with six people treated for minor injuries. At its height 12 fire crews were battling the blaze, believed to have started in the basement.
The hotel is owned by Jeanne Wilson who, according to the Daish's Holidays group website, acquired the hotel in 2013. The group comprises 10 hotels and 24 luxury coaches.