A DEVELOPER is “at a stalemate” with planning chiefs over the long-awaited demolition of a derelict hotel.

St George’s Hotel has stood empty on Bournemouth’s West Cliff for 10 years and was dubbed the “Ritz for rats” as it continued to crumble and fell victim to vermin and squatters.

Builders Whitelock and Co Ltd do have consent to replace it with 16 new apartments and plan to use as many reclaimed bricks as possible as it is in a conservation area.

But they have hit a sticking point as they have told Bournemouth council they will need to use new bricks for most of the new building and are still in dispute over the type of brick.

This has led to residents’ fears that the chance is being lost to remove “an eyesore”.

Keith Webb, from Whitelock and Co, said they hope to persevere but “can’t wait forever”.

He said: “We are trying to get it knocked down and not leave it to fall down.

“The council is saying to use the same bricks as next door but we don’t like the texture or price.”

Mr Webb said a lean-to on the new building will use the reclaimed bricks from the old hotel.

This summer Whitelock and Co offered up choices of bricks to Bournemouth council on display boards outside the building in West Cliff Gardens.

“We are in a bit of a stalemate at the moment,” Mr Webb added.

“This was supposed to be done by last Christmas.”

Chris Colledge, chairman of West Cliff Residents’ Association, feels the council is being “as difficult as possible”.

He said: “We could be left with this eyesore so how long has this got to go on?”

When planning consent was granted it was requied that the whole building should be dismantled by hand and salvaged materials from the North and West sides were to be carefully identified, cleaned, recorded, tagged and safely stored on site to be reused.

Steve Davies, Bournemouth council’s principal planning officer, said the council is keen to ensure the best quality materials are used as the new building replaces “an historic Victorian villa and will be a landmark building on the cliff top for many years to come”.

He said: “We are aware of frustrations by local people to see the development completed and we are confident a resolution will be found to the issue of the bricks.

“However the bricks are not the only issue the developer needs to address before work can start again and a meeting is being set up to try and reach an agreement on other outstanding matters so that the project is not delayed longer than necessary.”