AN eyesore former hotel which has stood empty and decaying for six years could be set for a new lease of life.
And that would bring cheers all round for the Northumberland village of Allendale.
Locals say the old-fashioned village square has been blighted by the steady deterioration of the prominent Dale Hotel since it was last occupied almost a decade ago.
But now, owner John Champ has laid new plans to turn the imposing three-storey building into a mix of houses and flats.
And parish council vice-chairman Robert Philipson declared yesterday: “The village will be delighted that something is at last being done.
“It needs developing in some way – it will have deteriorated in the last six years and it has been an eyesore for a while.
“We wrote as a parish council to the agent two or three times to see what was going to be done.
“But the owner lived abroad and we never got a satisfactory reply.”
Parish clerk Anne Grieve said: “I wrote to a local agent to try to contact Mr Champ, but I have never had any response from him.
“I wrote care of the agent, because I didn’t have an address for Mr Champ – and I still don’t.”
It is believed Mr Champ, who came to live briefly in Allendale several years ago, may now be living in France.
The hotel gradually became thickly covered in Virginia Creeper and unsightly plywood shutter boards were placed in the ground-floor windows, though these were later removed.
An earlier application to convert the Dale Hotel into flats was rejected by planners on car-parking grounds. But it is believed the new application, due to go before the planning authorities next month, addresses the parking problem.
It includes plans for four two-bedroomed flats, one four-bed flat, two town houses, demolition of an eastern extension for access, and one four-bed detached plus two three-bed semis to the rear.
County councillor Colin Horncastle, who serves on the West Area Planning Committee, said: “I look forward to any application that will tidy up this run-down site.”