POLITICIANS say everything will be done to restore a town’s pride after fire destroyed a historic seafront hotel.

Fire crews were called to The Claremont Hotel in Eastbourne shortly before 9am on Friday, with 12 engines there to tackle the inferno at its height.

There are now fears for the structural safety of the building, while the neighbouring Burlington Hotel, which shared the terrace, remains closed.

The building was evacuated and hotel staff have been praised for their quick thinking under pressure.

Six people were treated for minor injuries and one person was taken to hospital with breathing trouble, the ambulance service said.

There are fears about the damage to the Grade II listed hotel but Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt has vowed the town will bounce back.

He said: “It was a real shock, the hotel has been standing for 160 years.

“It was upsetting to see such an important part of the heritage of the town and Victorian seafront on fire.

“But a few years ago we dealt with the pier fire, and walking along the seafront now you would not know it had happened.

“Everyone rallied around, the community, councillors, officers, businesses and volunteers.

“I’m convinced the hotel will be restored.

“There have been lots of improvements in Eastbourne, and I’m sure we will have something return there to become a new focal point on the seafront.”

His message has been supported by candidates vying to be elected as Eastbourne’s MP at the December General Election.

Caroline Ansell from the Conservatives said: “Any fire in such a high-profile building on a seafront will have repercussions, but the town will rally.

“It’s heartbreaking to see such a beautiful building and seafront landmark consumed in flames.

“But Eastbourne will absolutely bounce back from this.”

Liberal Democrat hopeful Stephen Lloyd, who was elected as MP in 2017, echoed Cllr Tutt and Ms Ansell in praise of the emergency services, and for the hotel staff.

He said a proper assessment of the damage could take weeks and has spoken with the hotel’s owners Daish’s Holidays.

Mr Lloyd said: “They are well aware of the historical significance of the building to our seafront and I felt confident in listening to him that all will be done to retain it, if humanely possible.

“Frankly it’s all now down to the level of structural damage, which we will find out about in due course.”