A new hotel is among the frontrunners in the options being considered for the regeneration of the former Central Plaza Hotel site in Carlisle.

The derelict 65-bedroom hotel, on Victoria Viaduct, was demolished at the end of last year after standing empty since it closed in 2004, with work undertaken earlier this year to clear rubble and make the site safe.

The redevelopment of the site has formed a critical part of Carlisle City Council’s £16.6million Future High Streets Fund bid, and council leader John Mallinson said a new hotel was being looked at as a serious possibility for the vacant land.

Mr Mallinson said: “I think a hotel is certainly one of the options and I’d go as far as to say it’s probably a frontrunner.

“We have a company interested who have long held an interest and that is for a hotel.

“We do think it is the most likely option and we think it would fit extremely well in that area because we have other things going on there.

“That will become what I believe will be a very interesting sector of the city in the future.”

Mr Mallinson pointed to the revamp of the Citadels as another development which would transform that area of the city centre.

The final business case for the Future High Streets Fund bid is due to be submitted to the Government by July 31 and will include details of plans for the Central Plaza site, which had been a hotel since 1880.

The city was shortlisted for a share of the £1billion pot of cash last August and has been working on putting together detailed proposals since then.

Mr Mallinson added: “We are sure we can demonstrate that we are up to the task and can deliver and make Carlisle a really interesting place to live, shop, work and visit.

“I am excited for Carlisle in general with so much going on in the city but I do feel that that site has an exciting future in store and it will improve everything around it.

“I think it would all fit in very well together and in order to achieve that we will need support from the Government and the Future High Streets Fund.”

The eyesore building was finally demolished after roads were closed around it due to safety concerns over the stability of the structure last year.

The work to tear down the once iconic and popular venue safely was completed by contractor Ashcroft Demolition, reducing the hotel to 7,600 tons of rubble which was taken away from the site as 4,100 lorry loads.

Before the £1.35million demolition it had been reported to have become a target for vandals and urban explorers in recent years.

Once the building was taken down, Mr Mallinson said at the time he had felt “relief”.