The long-delayed opening of the four-star Hilton hotel and conference centre in Woking, more famous recently for its cutlery than its customers, has been announced.

Its original opening date was set to be October 2020 but the Covid pandemic laid those plans to rest.

Later, safety repairs to the Victoria Place development’s exterior cladding had to be carried out after several of its panels crashed to the ground in 2021.

That work is finally set to be completed, Woking Borough Council announced, by the summer of 2024.

Borough council leader Councillor Ann-Marie Barker said: “Despite my frustration with the unacceptably long delay in resolving this matter, I welcome Sir Robert McAlpine’s commitment to complete these works by next summer.

“I acknowledge that risks remain as these works must be completed safely and properly. 

“Yet it has been more than 18 months since the exterior panel failure, and it is imperative that McAlpine and their specialist façade sub-contractor, Prater, commit the resources necessary to complete this project as quickly as possible.

“I am confident that once these works are complete, and Hilton take management of the premium hotel and conference centre later in the year, we can look forward to its successful and long overdue opening."

Initial temporary work to reinforce half of the town-centre building’s 4,000 exterior sheets was carried out and the developers had hoped a permanent fix could have been resolved by spring 2022, but that date came and went, as did early plans to have guests in by January this year.

More recently the hotel, one of the flagships of Woking Borough Council’s investment strategy that led its effective bankruptcy, made headlines after it emerged some of that money was used to buy the resort’s knives, forks and spoons.

A spokesperson for Sir Robert McAlpine said: “We have been working very closely with Woking Borough Council and our façade subcontractor, Prater, to solve this complex issue.

“We have collaboratively created an approach which meets the council’s exacting specifications for the replacement works.

"Our teams are now fully committed to implementing the permanent remedial works necessary within the time frame agreed with the council so the hotel can open safely by summer 2024."

The hotel will feature a 22nd-floor roof-top bar as well as an all-day restaurant, cafe and lobby bar. The new Hilton hotel advertises itself as being near Legoland, Ascot Racecourse and “a dozen golf courses”.