MOST of the historic Accrington Conservative Club, including its famous ballroom, will be demolished under a £13million development plan, it has been revealed.

The owners of the derelict site said that little more than the ornate frontage of the Cannon Street building would remain if planning permission is granted.

Previous plans for the site have been delayed because of attempts to salvage the interior of the building, which includes the grand ballroom.

But owner Iftakharul Bhatti from Nelson-based Woodgreen Developments said that the building was in such a state of disrepair that demolition was now the only option.

A modern glass and steel structure will be put in place at the rear of the building, which faces on to Paradise Street.

Initial plans to create a complex with restaurant, a large ground-floor function room, shops, offices, a gym and a roof-top cafe have now been ditched in favour of high-quality office space.

Mr Bhatti said: “We were considering refurbishment rather than demolition but it is far too badly damaged.

"There has been a lot of negotiating between ourselves and the council on exactly the right way to develop the building and we have nearly come to an agreement.

“We have an excellent relationship with the council and appreciate all of the advice we have had "It is now time to press on and do something positive with this building, something I remain really keen to do.

“Developing this building could really kick-start regeneration in the area and I am also keen to begin other similar projects in the area.”

Peter Britcliffe, leader of Hyndburn Council, said: “The fact that the facia is being kept is good news. It is an exciting development in Accrington and will bring jobs and wealth to the area.

“It is very sad that the ballroom will go. I’m sure many people will be sad that it’s going but I would rather it be developed and create jobs than rot in Accrington.”

The former Conservative Club has been empty for a number of years. It was latterly a nightspot known as Churchills which closed in 2003. It was up for auction four years ago for a price of £450,000.

The site was originally the home of Accrington Conservative Club and contained a massive 1,000-capacity ballroom, recognised as one of the finest in the country.