Fire-damaged Weston-super-Mare hotel to be demolished

A disused hotel in Weston-super-Mare that was badly damaged in a fire will have to be demolished.

Emergency services were called to the former Royal Pier Hotel at 1800 BST on Wednesday and crews worked through the night to extinguish the blaze.

Fire investigators have so far been unable to enter to the building due to it being declared structurally unsafe.

Police are still investigating reports of two people seen in the hotel shortly before it caught fire.

A force spokesman said visual inspections were carried out from above using an aerial appliance as well as the police helicopter.

"Neither of these inspections presented any further evidence to suggest anyone remains inside the building, however this cannot be ruled out until closer inspection of the site takes place following controlled demolition," he said.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said arrangements were being made to start the demolition work before the weekend.

"Birkett Road and a stretch of Birnbeck Road between the Royal Pier Hotel and the junction with Madeira Road remain closed.

"Birkett Road is likely to remain closed until the structure has been demolished," he added.

Twelve residents from adjoining properties were housed in a nearby hotel overnight.

They have since been allowed to return to their homes.

Local historian John Crockford-Horley said the building, which opened in 1854, was "the premier hotel in Weston for many years" before falling into decline.

"It was where the Beatles stayed when they played at the Odeon cinema," he said.

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