Talks continue about sale of hotel

A THREATENED Aldwick hotel is to stay open until next year.

Guests will still be able to stay in the Russell Hotel into the early weeks of 2014.

The hotel’s owner, Action for Blind People, intends to sell the building to another charity, Livability, for use as a care home.

Next month had been stated as the original date for the deal to be finished.

But an Action for Blind People spokesman said the talks between the charities were still going on.

“The discussions are continuing because we feel we need a bit more time. We did initially say October would be the time when the negotiations would finish but that date was never fixed.

“It is helpful for both parties to have some more time. We feel that should go through until the early part of next year.”

The hotel would stay open until Action for Blind People and Livability were confident they were both happy, he said.

The current Russell Hotel dates from 2002 and replaced an hotel which had stood on the King’s Parade site since the 1940s.

It has 40 rooms and some 30 staff and was the country’s first purpose-built hotel for blind people when it opened. But Action for Blind People said it had been the least popular of its four hotels.

A spokesman for Livability confirmed the talks would be going on into 2014.

He said the charity hoped to keep the hotel’s popular pool open for the community.

“We recently met with Nick Gibb MP to reassure him we have not ruled out keeping the pool open. We have listened to the concerns of the pool’s users and we will be exploring funding opportunities to keep this facility open.

“This will include the potential for use by people referred by their GP.”

He added Ashley House, run by the charity on Aldwick Road, would offer a wider range of services to disabled people once Livability had converted the hotel.