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Thumbs up for revised plans for £20m Torquay town centre development

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 22, 2013

Torwood Street plans

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VISITORS to a public consultation have welcomed revised plans for the £20million Torwood Street development in Torquay.

New Riviera Estates put the proposals, which now feature increased office space but no residential accommodation, on display at the Grand Hotel.

The plans include a three- or four-star hotel with 110 bedrooms, plus three restaurants and one shop on the ground floor fronting Torwood Street.

Director Peter Tisdale said: "We're confident the hotel and offices will be very popular due to their location right by the harbour."

The exhibition was attended by 140 people, and 70 per cent of the formal feedback supported the proposed development.

The remaining 30 per cent of respondents left neutral feedback. There have been no formal objections to date.

The overall size and height of the proposed building has been reduced. Although technically the building has seven storeys, it is four storeys tall from The Terrace and four storeys tall from Torwood Street.

The plans have been revised to suit the needs of the hotel operator, whose identity is expected to be publicly confirmed in the next few weeks.

The Hilton group has been linked to the scheme.

The 12 apartments that were in the original proposals, which received full planning consent in April, 2011, have been removed, along with the gym, although the hotel will provide a similar facility.

The developers say the new scheme has the potential to create 80 to 100 jobs.

The amount of office space has been increased from 3,000sq ft to 20,000sq ft.

There is no on-site parking. People are expected to use the council-owned car park in The Terrace.

The main entrance to the hotel has been moved to The Terrace to improve accessibility.

Peter Tisdale said that if everything went smoothly, the company would look to submit a planning application by the end of next month and consent could be achieved by July.

Construction would start this autumn and be completed in spring, 2015.

Nearby resident Michael Mann, 79, said the proposals were an improvement on the previous scheme.

He said: "I like the outlook for Torwood Street. I wonder about parking as the car park is always busy. Let's get on with it as soon as possible to improve this run-down area of Torquay."

Valerie Needham, assistant librarian at the Christian Science Reading Room in Torwood Street, said she liked the new scheme.

She said: "There's residential development elsewhere in Torquay so the apartments aren't important. I don't think the gym will be missed because there are others.

"It's a wonderful location and the development will help with the night time problems because there will be more people around.

"We're not worried about the building work because we'll be glad to know something positive is going on. We're all in favour of it."

A company spokesman said of the latest drawings: "While the size and internal layout of the revised proposal have been finalised, the external design, including the elevations on Torwood Street and The Terrace, is still being developed.

"This will be finalised over the coming weeks with a view to submitting a full planning application in March."

The red line shows the dimension of the original planning permission.

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