Shropshire Star

Council could consider purchase of dangerous Newport hotel - but only as 'last resort'

A crumbling “eyesore” in a town centre is being made safe by a council after its owner of the property failed to abide by a court order.

The Royal Victoria Hotel in Newport

The former Royal Victoria Hotel in Newport could be bought by Telford & Wrekin Council – but only as a last resort, a councillor has said.

On Thursday the council announced it had stepped in and is to structurally secure the building after the February 21 deadline handed to the owner by the Health and Safety Executive at Telford Magistrates’ Court had expired.

The crumbling listed hotel has been branded an “eyesore” by residents and businesses in the area after being propped up by scaffolding for more than four years. An exclusion zone was set up around the building last month due to health and safety fears, closing one of the busy town’s busiest roads, St Mary’s Street.

The council’s move will see the hotel made safe and the bill for the work handed to the owner of the property, Roger Brock.

Independent councillor for Newport, Peter Scott, said: the council’s decision was a “relief” for both residents and traders but there was no date yet set for when work to make the hotel safe would begin.“We haven’t got a day or date yet for the works to start but it is a relief that the council is taking it seriously.”

“Everyone, and in particular the traders will be very relieved as it has had an impact on earnings of town.”

He added: that if it came down to it, the council could step in and purchase the property if the owner continues to neglect it.“I have asked if the council would consider a compulsory purchase and they would but only as a last resort.”

“The problem is we know that if we buy the building it is in a poor state, so to develop it will cost seven figures. It would be much better if the developer finishes it or it is sold to a new owner, but as a last resort the council could buy it.”

Mr Brock, who was granted planning permission to turn the dilapidated 19th century building into apartments in 2021, was unavailable to comment on the council’s decision but has previously denied deliberately letting the building fall into disrepair.

He had previously insisted the listed building would have to be demolished, but the council said it would not approve such a move. The building is currently up for sale.