A MAJOR contractor has confirmed it is in talks to finish a controversial tax-payer-funded hotel at the home of Hampshire cricket.
Carillion has admitted negotiations have been going on over taking on the part-finished Hilton Hotel at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The huge building project, underpinned with the promise of millions of pounds from Eastleigh tax payers, has been locked up for five months after the previous contractors Denizen plunged into administration.
Council leader Keith House claimed more than a week ago that he hoped a contractor would be on site “in a matter of days”.
But a Carillion spokesman told the Daily Echo: “We have had talks regarding this project but there is absolutely no agreement in place. At this stage we are not involved.”
The Liberal Democrat-controlled council agreed to pay more than £27m for the completed hotel – unchanged even if building charges spiral. It has already spent around £3.4m upfront in consultancy and services fees and has bought the ground the hotel sits on for £1.1m.
The council also bought the lease of the 167-acre Ageas Bowl site for £6.5m in 2011, as revealed by the Daily Echo.
The facility in West End was set to create 500 jobs, pumping up to £55m a year into the local economy on its expected opening this month.
The hotel is highly unlikely to be completed by the time England play India in a Test match at the ground in July and Hampshire Cricket has said it is unable to comment.
The announcement comes after the Daily Echo revealed how leaked documents showed that Denizen went bust after bosses revealed they would lose more than £2m by completing the Hampshire project.
The Co-operative Bank withdrew further funding when bank bosses became aware of Denizen’s financial problems, according to the report.