RESIDENTS are celebrating after hearing their 10-year wait for work to start on a “blight” on the landscape is nearly over.

The old St George’s Hotel on Bournemouth’s West Cliff was branded the “Ritz for Rats” as it deteriorated and developers struggled to agree on what type of brick should be used on parts of the proposed new building.

But all pre-commencement conditions have now been agreed with council chiefs demolition contractors is due to begin on Monday ahead of 16 new apartments being erected in place of the old hotel.

Chris Colledge, chairman of the West Cliff Green residents association, said it is “a most wonderful New Year gift” for residents and the tourist industry.

He said: “We entered 2013 with the anticipation that the 'blight' on the landscape of the St George’s will finally be demolished.

“It has been over a decade that we as a community have had to put up with this eyesore.

“What fantastic news this is.”

The distinctive building is within a conservation area and as part of the plans the developers Whitelocks were asked to re-use the original red bricks. But as more bricks were required for the new development they needed to agree with the council on the type of the new additional bricks.

Steve Davies, principal planning officer at Bournemouth council, said planners confirmed with the developer in September that they could start work on the demolition of the existing buildings on site.

“But they decided to wait until all pre-commencement conditions had been agreed,” he added.

Keith Webb, from the Whitelock Group, said: “We are pleased that finally we will be able to proceed with the demolition of St Georges and would like to take the opportunity to thank the local residents’ association for all their support.”