A GOVERNMENT minister has hailed a new hotel project in Bournemouth as ‘fantastic’ for the town.

Minister of state at the Cabinet Office responsible for cities policy, Greg Clark, visited the Terrace Mount site, where two new Hilton Hotels are being built.

Work started last September and since then tonnes of rubble have been unearthed to make way for the hotels, 60 apartments and more than 200 parking spaces.

The hope is that one of the hotels will be awarded five-star status, the first in the town to gain that accolade for some time.

The upmarket hotel will also be home to a sky bar, offering views across the town, while the second hotel will be three-star.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Echo, Mr Clark said: “It’s a phenomenal engineering achievement, apart from anything else, and to have two new hotels close to both the conference centre and the town centre is going to be fantastic for Bournemouth.”

Mr Clark is the minister responsible for the Government’s Growth Deal, which, as reported in the Daily Echo on Monday, saw £66million earmarked for projects in Dorset, including improvements to the infrastructure around Bournemouth Airport and the port of Poole.

He added: “We announced the Growth Deals on Monday and Bournemouth has done well out of that.

“I was keen to make sure that places that had the potential to create jobs had the backing.

“The more companies that come in, the more jobs that are created.”

The development will bring the Hilton name back to Bournemouth after an absence of some years.

Stephen Cassidy, vice president of operations at Hilton Worldwide, told the Echo: “It’s been an opportunity to come back to Bournemouth, which obviously is a fantastic tourism and commercial centre, and it’s important that Hilton has a presence in places like Bournemouth.

“Our hope is that it will be attractive to tourists coming into the Bournemouth area and will it provide offerings such as the executive lounge for business people. I have every confidence that it will be a huge success.”

Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth council, added: “It’s coming on according to schedule, it’s very exciting to see such a large-scale development taking place right in the heart of Bournemouth and what it will do is enhance not only our tourism offer, but our business offer for the BIC and that’s crucial.”