KEIGHLEY’S iconic Victorian Hotel will remain derelict for the foreseeable future, says its owner.
Harendra Patel claims he cannot afford to refurbish the building without a grant or loan from Bradford Council.
He said an injection of public money was the only way the historic hotel, on Cavendish Street, could be brought back into use.
The hotel has been empty for almost 18 months, and in January Mr Patel said he might be forced to demolish the building unless the council helped fund refurbishments.
Politicians this week reiterated that the council could not afford to subsidise a private-sector property owner amidst swingeing public spending cuts.
Mr Patel’s company Cavendish Keighley Properties Ltd, based in Leicester, bought the Victoria Hotel in early 2013, announcing plans last summer to provide eight flats and for ground-floor shops.
Mr Patel this week said Bradford Council planning officers had looked favourably on his proposals during informal meetings.
But he said: “The council is not interested in funding it. There are no grants available.”
Mr Patel said officers had also refused a long-term loan to cover restoration work, with the council taking responsibility for the debt.
Mr Patel said he would be willing to sell the hotel at roughly what he originally paid plus a sum representing the time his company had spent on the project.
District councillor Abid Hussain, who represents Keighley Central Ward in which the hotel is located, said: “The council does not have the money. The owner needs to negotiate with someone to buy the property.”
Bradford councillor Andrew Mallinson, who sits on Keighley Town Centre Association, said: “People aren’t welcome in Keighley if they have this negative attitude that development relies on handouts from public bodies.”
Keighley town mayor Graham Mitchell said: “One would wish the building was occupied and fulfilling a useful purpose. When there are social services cuts it’s unrealistic to expect a local authority to provide funding.”
Coun Mitchell, and Keighley Town Centre Association chairman Steve Seymour, suggested money might be available from heritage funds administered by bodies such as the Government or the European Union.
Mr Seymour added: “It’s unfortunate, but it’s a reality, that we’re not out of the economic situation we fell into 10 years ago “I think Keighley is a town on the up, so it might only be a year or two before the hotel is a valuable asset again.”