MULTI-MILLION pound plans for a luxury new resort and flats complex at Torquay’s Palace Hotel will be publicly unveiled next week.
Developers have been working behind the scenes for three years and final details of the new scheme will go to Torbay planners after the public get their say.
There is existing planning permission for 142 apartments on the site of the hotel’s tennis courts, off Babbacombe Road.
The Palace’s managing director, Paul Uphill (pictured), who has run the hotel for 40 years, said: “We are still at a very delicate stage with the plans, and it very much depends on whether we get approval. But from a personal point of view I think it’s a very bold and brave step. It would become a fabulous resort complex.”
The new drawings show four blocks of flats in a gated, concierge-serviced community linked to the hotel.
This will finance a £20million staged redevelopment of the hotel, turning it into a luxury resort which will eventually stretch down through the 28-acre gardens towards Ansteys Cove. The hotel will be extended with new luxury spas, restaurants and pools.
The consortium behind the plans hopes that if successful it will make the Palace into one of the finest hotels in the west country.
Developer Jack Turton, of Mapstone Hotel and Resorts Ltd, who has been working with the Palace Hotel on the project, said: “We have spent three years looking at how to make this work. We cannot say who the investors are, but this will go ahead.
“It will be one of the biggest projects in the whole area.”
Mr Uphill added: “If in principle it gets approval it will certainly take the Palace into the 21st century and achieve a very high standard of accommodation and facilities in a resort-type complex, which is what it will eventually become.
“I think the timing is right to reinstate a five star luxury hotel in Torquay and indeed in Devon.
“I hope the town will get behind it. I think as a town we have probably down-traded for too long. We desperately need to upgrade the resort.
“It’s time we gave a greater choice to attract our valued foreign and homeland tourists.”
Mr Uphill said the luxury flats and the hotel development would go ‘hand-in-hand’.
“The two must go together because it’s got to made a viable proposition.”
The public consultation event to outline the proposals will be held at the hotel on Wednesday, September 25, between 4.30pm and 7.30pm.
The hotel which was originally built in 1834, formerly the Bishop of Exeter’s palace, first secured planning permission in 2008. This was extended in 2010.