Pub giant Wetherspoon has this week given reassurances that it remains "committed" to opening up in Hamilton four years after the plans were first unveiled.
However, Lanarkshire Live can reveal that the initial planning permission to turn the former Baird's building in the town centre into a pub and hotel has now lapsed.
Wetherspoon has confirmed this week that it is now preparing a new planning application to support plans for a pub and hotel.
The Hamilton Advertiser first reported in December 2017 that Wetherspoon planned to create around 60 new jobs with its multi-million pound proposal.
The large town centre building has lain empty since its closure in February 2014.
In 2018 the firm was given the green light by South Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee, which rubber-stamped a detailed planning application to see a change of use of the existing retail unit to a public house, restaurant and hotel.
The report that went before councillors proposed that Wetherspoon plan to change the vacant store to a public house/restaurant, with an external seating area on the ground floor and a hotel on the upper floors.
In 2019, the council approved the sale of the building to Wetherspoon.
A fee of £750,000 was agreed of which £613,125 will be due to leasing company Maration Ltd.
The council received £136,875 but still have a “pre-emption right” to buy back the property should JD Wetherspoon decide to sell during the development phase.
However, residents have been growing more concerned about the future of the building as there was very little external progress made on it.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told Lanarkshire Live : “ Wetherspoon is committed to opening a pub in the town.
“It is also keen to add a hotel within the existing building to complement the pub.
“Planning permission for both has lapsed and Wetherspoon is therefore preparing a new application to submit to the council.
“There is, as yet, no projected on site or opening dates, as we will need to await the outcome of the planning application.
“We appreciate that there are a number of people in Hamilton who are awaiting the opening of the pub, however, our there is a process that needs to be undertaken before we are at that stage.”