Protesters gathered outside the Isle of Wight Court this morning (Friday), calling for a derelict hotel in Sandown to be smartened up, for the good of the town.

One former business owner who attended the protect told the County Press that "sad sites like this are driving away visitors and costing local businesses their livelihoods."

The protest was organised by Sandown Community Association chair Alan Jones and was attended by the town's mayor, Cllr Paddy Lightfoot.

The Ocean Hotel, on Sandown seafront, a major Isle of Wight tourist hotspot, was already abandoned when it was devastated by fire just over one year ago. 

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Around 100 firefighters - from the Isle of Wight and Hampshire - were involved in the effort to fight and control the blaze.

Now, the current owners of the hotel are appealing against enforcement action by the Isle of Wight Council which would compel them to tidy up the eyesore site.

A formal notice was officially served on Phoenix Commercial Property Development in February 2022 and was due to take effect from March 11 if there had been no appeal.

The hotel was also previously occupied by heritage campaigners keen to preserve its 200 year history.

It was previously owned by Carluaren Group.

UPDATE: Ocean Hotel court case what happens next?