A COUNCIL summonsed the operators of its own hotel to court for non-payment of £104,000 worth of business rates.

Stockton Borough Council sent a court summons to Hilton Worldwide Holdings last month after not receiving rates payments for the Hampton by Hilton Hotel in Stockton.

But the council has now admitted the invoices for the rates had been sent to the wrong place. They should have been sent to the hotel itself, not the Hilton Group.

The court summons has now been cancelled and the hotel will be given 28 days to make the payment for rates for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The council borrowed £17m to build the hotel, which opened earlier this year, and owns the property, although a hotel trading company operates it under the name Hampton by Hilton.

Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton Borough Council, said: “Summons letters for non-payment of business rates are automatically-generated by our billing system.

“Due to a data inputting error, a summons letter was mistakenly sent to the wrong party. We have cancelled the summons and reissued the business rates invoice to the correct party.”

The council borrowed £17m over 35 years to build the town centre hotel, in the hope it would deliver a profit of about £240,000 a year back to the council in both profits and business rates, after the loan repayments.

The summons was addressed to Hilton Worldwide Holdings and listed unpaid rates for 2018 onwards, totalling £104,108.26.

It was dated June 25 and instructed the hotel group to attend Teesside Magistrates Court at 11am on July 15.

The loan to build the hotel proved controversial with opposition councillors at the time and some members of the public, but the council argued an ‘incredibly strong’ business case for the hotel, which it said would bring in £6.7m into the local economy and create about 100 jobs directly and in the supply chain.

Local authorities keep half of business rate income with half going to central government.

The government half is sent back to councils via the "revenue support grant" - but this fund has gradually fallen away in recent years.

The council owns the hotel and it is managed by hotel management company, Interstate, which operates it as a Hampton by Hilton brand franchise.