A FIRE-RAVAGED derelict hotel in Newquay – previously described as a "death trap" by neighbours – will be razed to the ground within three months.
Diggers have rolled on to the site of the Riviera Hotel, on Lusty Glaze Road, which has seen two major blazes in the past two years.
It was targeted by arsonists in September 2011 and again in August last year, when 10 fire engines and 60 firefighters were needed to bring the blaze under control.
The incidents led concerned neighbours and councillors to demand the asbestos-ridden building be pulled down before someone was seriously hurt.
Now site owner Acorn Blue has confirmed the hotel will be demolished to make way for a residential development, as the Cornish Guardian revealed in August.
Company boss David Stein said: "I'm really pleased at long last that the site is in the process of a long overdue redevelopment. We hope people are pleased to see the movement on the site and that the community will support our scheme."
Previous plans for an apart-hotel complex on the site were scrapped and have been replaced by proposals for an apartment block similar to Ocean Gate at Pentire.
Plans for 36 apartments and 9 houses would be submitted to Cornwall Council within weeks, Mr Stein said, and it was hoped work would begin by next summer.
A favourite with squatters, the Riviera has stood empty for years, to the frustration of neighbours.
News of its demolition was welcomed by retired engineer Briant Colwill, who lives in Bonython Road, and Barry Colley, of nearby Carminow Way.
Mr Colwill, 66, said: "As the Australians might say, 'You little beauty'.
"It's about time too. We've had so much trouble with that building – the fires and people running in and out of there. It's an eyesore."
Mr Colley, 74, said: "It's great news that it's being knocked down.
"It's a complete mess. We've tried to ignore it for years but you can only ignore it to a certain extent when it looks like that."