A BOARDED up hotel in Abingdon should be the ‘heart’ of the town’s tourism future.

Instead, according to district councillor Sanday Lovatt, The Upper Reaches has been left to deteriorate and is currently in a ‘dreadful’ condition, with an increasingly overgrown carpark.

The councillor, who is the chairman of the Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee, said: “In my view the future of Abingdon has to lie in tourism but we currently have a hotel that should be at the very heart of that being left sitting empty.”

In 2015, leaseholder Contemporary Hotels Ltd closed the hotel citing a ‘prolonged period of losses’.

Last year, company director Ambar Paul, whose family also owns Caparo Hotels, revealed he hoped to build a mixed-use scheme of housing and hotel space at the riverside location.

Speaking this week, he restated his commitment to the plan and said: “My goal remains unchanged, I want a mixed-use site with a boutique hotel and around 10 houses.

“There have been delays getting the council to relax their rules however and the car park is looking increasingly derelict.”

Vale of White Horse District Council, which holds the freehold for the site, has stated in the past that Contemporary Hotels’ long-term lease only allows the site to house up to six flats.

In the meantime, the site has been plagued with anti-social behaviour since it was closed almost three years ago, with police regularly called to deal with incidents at the Thames Street property.

The latest business report from Contemporary Hotels admitted the closure had led to ‘increasing levels’ of vandalism and that these had impacted the value of the property adding, however, that costs were still lower than running the hotel.

Mr Lovatt, who also serves on Abingdon Town Council, said the hotel can not be allowed to remain in its current condition.

He said: “It is looking dreadful.

"The carpark is getting very overgrown, and vandals getting in there to take stuff off the roof.

“Personally I think it is essential if we want to move forward with our town that this hotel is refurbished.

"It is in a perfect location and we should be doing everything we can to use it as part of efforts to boots tourism.”