A DILAPIDATED Victorian hotel, left empty and boarded up for years, will sparkle once more after the council approved radical new plans.

The owners of the Royal Victoria Lodge – known locally as the Vicky Lodge – put forward the application to transform the former pub into a shop and five apartments.

It sits on Victoria Square at the entrance to Portland and the council heard that it is riddled with signs pointing to its vacant years.

Roof problems allowed in water, which brought some of the ceilings down and a crack is steadily spreading down the front of the building.

The plans, which involve knocking through many walls inside the Grade II-listed building, have been widely praised by councillors.

Cllr Sandy West, who represents Underhill, said: “The Vicky Lodge is part of a gateway into Portland.

“It was a thriving pub and a real asset to the community. Now, it doesn’t give a very good impression at all of the town.

“I think this will bring it back to life.

“It is a beautiful building and I love it.

“This will be a great scheme if the colours are right and all the features are retained.”

HDM (Leisure) Limited which owns the site and proposed the alterations does not plan any changes to the outside of the Vicky Lodge, which will maintain many of the same qualities that gave it character when it was built in around 1870.

Originally it sat with a group of buildings at the terminus of the railway into Portland and greeted visitors as they arrived into the town.

The station was demolished in 1969.

Cllr Margaret Leicester echoed Cllr West’s positivity.

She said: “I’m very pleased to see that a historic building will be brought back to life.”

However, cracks appeared in the application when it emerged that an adjacent property laid claim to part of the land allocated to parking for the proposed shop.

If this proves true, HDM Limited could face civil action and lose its car park.

Cllr Kevin Brookes expressed concern over the proposed extension of the bus stop so that deliveries can come to the shop’s front door and the feared loss of parking.

He said: “What happens to anybody driving along (the A354) who will have to go around a lorry that will block the way?”