PLANS for a 150-bed budget hotel on the outskirts of St Ives have been put on hold because of the state of the economy.

Endurance Estates, which owns St Ives Business Park off Harrison Way, had earmarked part of the site fronting Needingworth Road, close to the recently-opened Marsh Harrier public house, for possible use as an hotel.

But the Foxton-based developer, which has 20,000 square feet of unlet office space on the five acre lakeside site, is now looking at possible different uses.

Founder and managing director Tim Holmes, who was also behind the development of Cambourne Business Park and Hinchingbrooke Business Park in Huntingdon, told The Hunts Post: "We have proposals, subject to demand, for a mixed use development on land fronting Needingworth Road.

"But the hotel business is quite difficult at the moment, and clearly the demand for offices is quite limited. I suspect it would be quite difficult to get a hotel operator, so we are exploring other options as well.

"It could perhaps be a car showroom, but we're open to other ideas."

Earlier plans for a luxury hotel - Mr Holmes was behind the development of what is now the Huntingdon Marriott - have also been shelved, which will come as a relief to St Ives hotelier Michael Purchas, who owns the Golden Lion Hotel and recently-closed Robin Hood public house.

"A 150-bed hotel there would see off all the other hotels for miles around," he told The Hunts Post.

Huntingdonshire District Council's development manager confirmed that his department had discussed the possibility of an hotel with the developers, but said the idea seemed to have "gone away".