THE final deal has been signed for the £12million Oldway Mansion development.
Four months after being granted planning permission and following weeks of negotiation, the flagship project has been given the final green light.
Under an original 2010 deal, Torbay Council was expected to receive £1millon premium plus a percentage of profits from the sale of houses being built in the grounds of the mansion.
Under the deal now agreed, the council will pay developers Akkeron Regeneration £400,000 towards a new indoor bowls club building, an enhanced marriage ceremony room and the restoration of the gardens.
The council says this is in recognition of the changes since the original conditional contract was signed in August 2010.
The housing numbers were scaled down to meet opponents' requests. As part of the scheme, 48 three and four-bedroom townhouses will be built along with a new orangery and cafe.
The original deal would have given the council a £50,000 deposit after a development scheme was agreed and £1million within two years of planning consent or the 'practical completion of the hotel'. The council was also set to be paid 15 per cent of the profits from the redevelopment.
The deal has now been agreed by the council and Akkeron Regeneration, the development arm of Akkeron Group. The mansion will be fully restored and conserved, and the currently derelict ancillary buildings converted into a spa and fitness centre. Over 75 full time jobs will be created.
Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver said: "I am very pleased that an agreement has been reached that ensures the development is carried out in a way which preserves and enhances the buildings and grounds for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors."
James Brent, chairman of Akkeron, said: "In these times of austerity, the public and private sectors need to work in close partnership not only to protect our heritage but to create homes and jobs for our communities."
Steve Parrock, chief executive of the Torbay Development Agency, said: "I am delighted that four years of hard work from the TDA and council have come to fruition."
Paul Hawthorne, chairman of the Friends of Oldway, said: "We welcome the finalising of the agreement."
Torbay Civic Society chairman Ian Handford said: "Rather than see this important building go into irreversible decline, the Civic Society has supported the renovation proposals while ensuring important public access to the main areas and the estate is maintained."
Work will begin on site at the earliest opportunity with the project due to be completed by 2015.
The cafe is open for business until next year and the developer is keen to work with the operators as long possible. The tennis courts will be open for business for next few months and will re-open next year.
Both bowls clubs are unaffected for time being — the indoor club is staying open until the new club opens. The outdoor club is investing in ground improvements.
Public access to the gardens and grounds will be carefully managed to ensure the public can enjoy safe access during the development and any temporary restrictions will be carefully considered and minimised, says Torbay Council.
The mansion is available for meetings and events until next March. Most weddings are now being undertaken at Cockington, with the wedding room returning to Oldway in 2015.
The registrars are moving to Paignton Library in mid October. Access to Singer Collection continues.