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Torquay's Torwood Street plans - all systems go?

By Herald Express  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

  • VISION OF THE FUTURE: How Torwood Street could look (above) and how it looks today (below)

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THE £20million redevelopment plan for the Torwood Street area of Torquay is back on.

A revised planning application may be submitted in November with talk of a start on site as early as the New Year.

The scheme, first hatched in 2008, would see boarded up properties in the prime harbourside area transformed into a hotel, office, shops and restaurants development.

The architects for the plans are the well-established Kay Elliott.

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Managing director Derek Elliott (pictured) said he was 'optimistic' that the Torwood Street plans were at last moving forward. His firm has been based in Torquay since 1978 and now works around the world.

World famous hotel chain Hilton have always been linked to the Torwood Street project.

Two of their other major and most recent projects in the Bay are the Abbey Sands redevelopment of the former Palm Court Hotel on Torquay seafront and the proposed hotel/apartments and leisure scheme for the Pavilion and marina car park site on Torquay harbourside.

Mr Elliott said negotiations on Torwood Street were still on-going behind the scenes with a contractor to deliver the scheme.

But he said: "It is reaching a conclusion. When we have that settled there will be an amended application.

"It is the same thing. We are just making it more cost effective to get the viability. We are fine tuning the little details. The Abbey Sands shows what can be done to lift Torbay. We would like to have these two other projects in the mix." Torbay deputy mayor David Thomas was chairman of the planning committee when the redevelopment was first mooted more than six years ago.

He said: "I have not seen the revised plans. They have had a conversation with the planning department about putting in a revised planning application.

"I do not expect this to be dramatically different to what they have already.

"There are a few tweaks to uses they want to change. The planning team has had that conversation.

"They have asked when a planning application is likely to be heard. It could be in November provided they submit as soon as possible. There has to be a 21-day consultation period.

"There is, hopefully, a sign they want to start the scheme in the New Year.

"We have said we will do everything we can to meet the timeline they are looking at.

"It has been sat around for a long time. As a company they have purchased properties in Torwood Street. That's why they are boarded up.

"I understand that once they had planning permission they were looking for pre-leases for the ground floor restaurant space. They have people signed up for those. That makes the whole thing financially viable.

"I would be delighted to see that major redevelopment come forward.

"I am confident as I possibly can be that with the changes they have now come in with they can make this happen. The fact they are talking about a potential start date is exciting.

"With the Abbey Sands development, the Pavilion and now Torwood Street that makes three fantastic new builds along the seafront area. It is all stacking up very nicely. It is great the developers are keen to move this forward with this. These new plans are fantastic news."

The scheme was originally masterminded by developers Harvard Tisdale.

It is understood the project is now being led by a property group in London called THAT group which was set up last year.

Among the six man team of THAT group is still Peter Tisdale who was with the original developers.

THAT group says it is behind urban regeneration projects including '£100million of new-build, hotel-led projects in Bournemouth in Torquay and other work'.

On their website they say: "The proposed Torwood Street development will be a high quality hotel-led, commercial development.

"This site is fundamental to the future plans for Torquay Harbour, and its surrounding areas. We have an existing planning consent but will soon be seeking some amendments to that consent. Our proposals will include hotel, restaurants, cafes, retail, and modern office space, and we hope to bring those proposals forward for 2014"

The group's 'flagship development' is Terrace Mount in Bournemouth which they say will consist of two Hilton Hotels and some 60 apartments.

The existing planning permission for the Torwood Street site was granted in 2013. New Riviera Estates put in the proposals which featured increased office space but no residential accommodation. The plans included a three or four-star hotel with 110 bedrooms, three restaurants and one shop on the ground floor fronting Torwood Street. The developers have said the scheme had the potential to create 80 to 100 jobs.

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  • Othursty1  |  August 28 2014, 8:21AM

    I have to say that for once we see a nice proposal for a dump area of the town, a development that will not encroach and/or destroy anything nice. You have my full backing. You may begin building now. Thank goodness that some architects are still able to draw up good looking buildings unlike the designer assigned to the pavilion project, or the one who designed the Palm Court Hotel replacement building.

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