THE would-be developers of a controversial four-star hotel for Torquay harbourside and Pavilion have said they will hold a public exhibition before their project goes to planners.
Following a meeting of the independent design review panel, Nicolas James Group says it will revise its current proposals for Torquay Pavilion and the marina car park further and plan to hold an exhibition, possibly in August.
At the full council meeting last week mayor Gordon Oliver told campaigners fighting the plans that Torbay must welcome developers and investment.
A 1,095-signature petition was presented against the building of a hotel on the harbourside and car parking in Cary Green.
The opponents cited the loss of sea views for residents; the lack of well-paid jobs; loss of green space and a failure to consider alternative investment in the Pavilion. There was also criticism of a decision not to debate in full the transfer of leases on the site, with opponents claiming a lack of democratic accountability.
But the mayor said councillors had decided in 2012 to support regenerating the waterfront. Mayor Oliver said: "We have to be very careful we don't give out the message to developers in Torbay that once we make a decision we might go back on it. If we don't want to grant them a lease they'll walk."
He said issues raised by members of the public were planning ones to be decided by the planning committee.
Cllr Julien Parrott submitted an amendment to the petition asking for the chief executive of the Torbay Development Agency to get a better value deal for the residents of the Bay.
But it was defeated in a vote, with the mayor saying no deal with developers had been settled.
The loudest applause of the night was for opponent Fiona McPhail who accused the council of not standing up to developers.
She submitted a question saying proposals for the site disregarded the council's 'tall buildings strategy' as well as green space policy and covenants on Cary Green.
Alan Griffey, of Torbay Friends of the Earth, presented the petition, which had also been signed by 700 visitors.
He said: "If the proposed apartments are built the view will go, we'll be looking at a block of flats."
But Cllr Dave Thomas said: "Every reason which has come forward is a planning issue and needs to be put before planning."
A decision was taken to note the petition, but take no further action on it.
Dave Jobbins, development director of Nicolas James Group, said afterward they would be making changes to their proposals following the design review panel's findings. He confirmed they plan a public exhibition with the opportunity for residents to see the plans at first hand, saying: "The last one we did there were a lot more positive comments received and I believe in general there is more support for the scheme."
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed it was not council staff who glued a planning notice on the plinth of the Agatha Christie memorial bust in Cary Green, which will become a car park if the scheme goes ahead.
It was removed by a street warden after complaints from the public.
Cllr Darren Cowell said: "It was put there by somebody being mischievous and it's regrettable because it caused a lot of anger and offence.
"The key thing is making sure the design is right. As I've said already, it looks like a Lego airport hotel.
"There are two processes here: the planning and design process and how the leases and terms of the lease are negotiated."
Cllr Cowell has now tabled a motion to the next meeting of the council urging the mayor to ensure a debate on the terms of the lease before any agreement is signed.
He added: "Regrettably at the moment we have a bad deal and a bad design."