Work on the town’s historic King’s Arms Hotel will start within weeks, according to the company developing the building.

King's-Arms-delapidatedConcerns have been raised about the deteriorating state of the grade II-listed building, which has now been empty for more than three years.

But Rob Greacen, director of the Stay Original pub company, told the Voice that contractor Stepnell’s of Poole is scheduled to start work on 18 February.

“They are expecting building work to take 40 weeks which takes us through to the middle of November,” he said. “With a building like that there’s always a risk they will hit something unexpected that might delay the contract, but we are hoping we will be open just before Christmas.”

Mr Greacen said the delays were partly due to planning hurdles and partly down to finding the right contractor.

“You need somebody who knows what they are doing dealing with buildings like this, and it has to fit their schedule and our schedule as well.

“The King’s Arms is in much better condition than quite a lot of the buildings we’ve redeveloped in the last three or four years, and the sort of work we do to them means it will be back to as good as new.”

He added: “It will look fantastic when it’s finished.”

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