DEMOLITION of a derelict hotel described as a “hulking monstrosity” by nearby residents is finally under way.

The Cliff End Hotel in Manor Road has been the subject of numerous complaints in the 17 years it has been empty.

Owned by the Meyrick Estate, the hotel suffered extensive damage in a fire in 2012 and has been used by squatters.

East Cliff councillor Anne Filer said demolition teams on the site this week have discovered hundreds of used needles.

And she said councillors and residents are delighted that the building is finally being knocked down.

She said: “This site has been terrible for the people living near to it. Not only has it been a terrible eyesore, it has also been quite frightening.

“It has been used for a lot of anti-social activity and for years neighbours could hear shouting and other noises coming from the building.

“It is very good news for the whole area that work has started.”

Preparatory work has taken place in recent months but demolition only started on Monday.

Planning permission was finally granted for a replacement building in September last year but it has taken until now for Meyrick Estate to secure the necessary permission to flatten the building.

Estate spokesman Jeremy Hinton said it will take around three weeks to get the building down.

There will then follow a period of around three months to completely clear the site to make it flat and safe.

It will then be surrounded by anti-climb fencing and will remain closed off until work starts on the replacement building.

The site will eventually be occupied by a 65-bed, seven-storey assisted living facility.

Permission was granted despite council officers recommending it for refusal.

Councillors heard pleas from residents in the area who said they were keen to see a new building on the site which they said was blighting their daily lives.

Mr Hinton said: “It has taken a very long time to get to this stage and we will now start the process for the new building. We do not have a timescale at the moment.”

Local councillors Anne and Michael Filer were on hand to see the demolition work for themselves.

Mr Hinton, group development director for Meyrick, said: “We are delighted with the planning board’s decision to grant planning permission and support our proposal. Demolition of the eyesore building is a milestone for the area and something that we are pleased to be able to deliver.

“Last year, we hosted a public consultation event that provided local residents with an opportunity to voice their concerns and recommendations on the suggested proposals. The planning application which has now been accepted, took into consideration all the comments made by the public.

“We are delighted to be able to announce that we can now start the process of demolition and removing this derelict building from the East Cliff. This will have an immediate, positive impact on the surrounding area.”