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Torquay Pavilion hotel scheme could 'pump millions' into economy

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 09, 2013

Torquay Pavilion

Comments (20)

THE Pavilion luxury hotel and apartment scheme could pump millions of pounds into the Torquay economy, it has been claimed.

The developer behind the scheme is still pushing ahead with the proposals to create a new hotel and apartments and new car park on the harbourside and renew and refurbish the crumbling Pavilion as the public rooms.

The Nicolas James Hotel Group has estimated the scheme would create 200 jobs directly and could pump £4million a year into the local economy, David White, from Torbay Development Agency, told Torbay Neighbourhood Plan Forum.

The developer also estimates it could also contribute £5million a year to the economy indirectly, for example through visitor spend and suppliers to the 65-bedroom hotel and 45 luxury apartments.

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It would also create construction jobs.

Mr White said it had been decided not to pursue building on Cary Green but there was a possibility part of it could be used for hotel car parking.

He said the Grade II-listed Pavilion, which is now closed, will cost millions of pounds to repair because water is getting inside the fabric and rotting out steel supports.

The next step is to carry out a detailed condition survey of what was one of the first steel frame buildings in the country.

It was leased to Marina Developments Limited in 1985.

Mr White said: "The question is who is responsible for renewing or repairing the building. Is it repair or is it renewal?

"We could pay solicitors and barristers tens of thousands of pounds and still not get a definite answer. We say it's their problem, they say it is ours.

"Unfortunately, the law has moved on since the lease was drawn up and this is a big grey area.

"We do know that the cost of repair is going to be several million pounds and it needs continuous maintenance, a bit like the Forth Bridge."

The Nicolas James Group proposed to work with MDL but no design had yet been agreed and it will go out to public consultation, he told the meeting at the Riviera International Conference Centre.

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  • spindleshanks  |  February 09 2013, 5:51PM

    What I like about the proposal submitted by the Torquay Town Centre Community Partnership to the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan regarding the re-siting of the Pavilion is that if it were on a constructed island in the old inner harbour, existing vessels using the harbour could remain moored in the revised waterways around the central island. In other words no local boats owned by local people would be displaced as effectively proposed in the council's meeting last week. During that debate, the current 173 chain moorings are to be replaced with 173 berths, the revenues from the former of currently just under £50,000 per annum being replaced by mooring fees of £121,000 per annum. The cost? The repayment of the loan of £800,000 needed at an annual rate of £54,000. All that for an increase in revenue of circa £20,000 per annum. Surely the rents from retail and leisure units in a restored Pavilion would be way in excess of that figure? So it is going to cost at least twice as much to moor your boat in the inner harbour if you have one there already, Torbay Council (sorry the local tax payer) will benefit by the tune of just £20,000 per annum and Torquay will have missed a golden opportunity. Of course as the report to council admits, everything will be lovely providing the half-tide cill on the inner harbour doesn't fail at any time potentially damaging boats and the people that are living on them while they are moored on the berths. Perhaps I have the above all wrong but it sounds to me we have just got ourselves a campsite in the centre of the harbour and one that isn't really financially viable.

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  • RivieraPalms  |  February 09 2013, 2:45PM

    I actually like spindleshanks idea, it reminds me a bit of Beaulieu Sur Mer on the French Riviera were they have something similar coming out into the Marina. Perhaps any loss of boat space can be brought back by having boats able to berth around the Pavilion. I can't find a close up picture but you can see it in this one. If you click on the picture it will enlarge a little. http://tinyurl.com/a7l9wtv You can see boats berthed around the building. The Pavilion could be placed inside the inner harbour or the marina.

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  • spindleshanks  |  February 09 2013, 11:36AM

    No problem Nicold - just wondered what they were going to do with all the soil if they have to excavate for an underground car park. Of course were the Pavilion to be moved, a developer (not necessarily the current one) could be offered a prime site nearly twice the size of that currently available, be able to produce a bespoke hotel/spa complex incorporating children's play area (sadly lacking in Torquay) and lose the ugly car park underground. The value of the site would be considerably more than it currently is which may go towards the cost of moving and properly restoring the Pavilion. You may then have a situation where developers are fighting over the site rather than having the current developer apparently threatening to walk away. The stumbling block for years has been the Pavilion, what to do with it and how to pay for repairs. The Pavilion could be the stunning focal point of a harbour offering a mixture of retail/leisure with cafes and restaurants opening out on to surrounding terraces and "quirky Totnes-like" retail units within. The area really could come alive. More to the point it would be completely unique and may have a chance of pulling people back from Plymouth/Exeter. Torquay has to offer something different for the town to thrive. Have to say the 7 to 12 storey apartment block and building on Cary Green shown on the architect's website are hopefully an old proposal or are they? I am just repeated surprised by the complete lack of vision displayed in recent years regarding anything to do with the regeneration of Torquay and Torbay Council ought to stop selling off its, (sorry our), "crown jewels" on the cheap.

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  • nicold  |  February 09 2013, 10:16AM

    Spindleshanks Thanks. I don't like the idea of the pavilion on an island. Maybe too costly to move it!

  • TorbayFan  |  February 08 2013, 7:03PM

    I'd put money on this being a scheme to get planning permission for a hotel on, what is probably, the best piece of land in Torbay. Put in planning permission to 'save the pavilion' by using it as a part of an up market hotel. Start work and then say, "We didn't appreciate how poor the condition of the pavilion is and it's not commercially viable to use it. Can we please build the hotel and demolish the pavilion?" With construction partially complete and the harbour area in total chaos, how could the council object? A further point that needs to be made is that Torbay already has far more 3*+ beds than its competitors and more than it needs. Adding more bed spaces will merely move visitors from existing privately run hotels, owned by locals, to the new hotel owned by some faceless institution in London or the Bahamas. How will that help the residents of Torbay? It's time the council addressed the real needs of the Torbay local economy and stopped responding to 'get rich quick' proposals from outside, which do nothing for the locals.

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  • MrMikeHunt  |  February 08 2013, 4:12PM

    You may not have to wait long Jim. If the Pavilion carries on in it's current state it will soon resemble one of those large hotels that were abandoned to addicts and those sleeping rough on Torquay's seafront, it will probably be burnt to the ground in 2015. Let's save it now while we can.

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  • spindleshanks  |  February 08 2013, 4:06PM

    Nicold - the submission by the Torquay Town Centre Community Partnership regarding the Pavilion development reads as follows:- " • The Community Partnership has serious concerns about development of the Pavilion and large hotel on the Marina car park. TTCCP would support further investigation for the re siting of the Pavilion to another location which may then enable a lower rise less intrusive development on the Marina car park. A possible option would be to relocate the Pavilion on to a constructed island (with bridges) in the inner harbour, around which boats could still move/moor. The point of the development would be to: i).protect the Pavilion (i.e. proper repair with new skeletal steelwork) and make it the centre of a revitalised harbour area rather than just being a poor excuse for a hotel reception, ii). provide a waterside dining/entertainment environment unique in the UK that would encourage a more mature and upmarket night time economy and iii). provide the type of retail experience during the daytime best described as "Totnes by the sea." We don't think one person in Torquay would want to see the loss of the Pavilion building yet many seem happy to see it compromised by a large hotel adjacent to it. If the Pavilion were moved this would allow a larger footprint for the developer of the hotel/spa to build a wider but lower development that could include a children's play area at NO COST TO THE COUNCIL OR TAXPAYER.* Alternatively, place the hotel on the island and leave the Pavilion and car park where it is. Perhaps the car park could be topped with a play area feeding off the Pavilion or be the site for an open air public performance space.*" Hope that helps.

  • nicold  |  February 08 2013, 3:45PM

    "Nicold - if you follow the link to the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan website (http://tinyurl.com/7ylfvsn), click where it says "Information" then again on "Community Plans" and then again on "Torquay Town Centre Amended Submission (Feb 2013) Nothing there...blank pages!

  • spindleshanks  |  February 08 2013, 3:43PM

    If you owned the Mona Lisa, would you repair it using emulsion paint and hang it in the broom cupboard? Perhaps we should look to our past to find a way forward. The following snippet about Torquay is from Wiki - "Then in 1889 the Winter Gardens were built to provide entertainment for winter holidaymakers. Its cast-iron and glass structure could seat up to 1,000 people for the concerts held by an Italian band, and also featured three tennis courts and a bowling alley. However, the Winter Gardens were not very successful and in 1903 the building was sold to Great Yarmouth. The structure was shipped by barge from Torquay without the loss of a single pane of glass and is still in use today (including a brief period during the 1990s as a nightclub, under the management of Jim Davidson). The Victorian walls of the base are still in their original position in Torquay" Puts the submission by Torquay Town Centre Community Partnership to the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan regarding the Pavilion into perspective. Great Yarmouth benefits from one of Torquay's iconic buildings to this very day although it is in a perilous state of repair. (http://tinyurl.com/azsdbwr) Other article - http://tinyurl.com/b5j5gf4 Perhaps we could buy it back? Thought not - but it was moved.

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  • ineedtherapy  |  February 08 2013, 3:36PM

    Jungle Jim.... The railways were originally BUILT by private enterprise....when nationalised the state got control of them for a pittance...so the fact that the current "owners" acquired them for very little gives the whole thing a certain balance. Agree with you though....why should we continue to subsidise this industry - it was "privatised" long enough ago to mean that it should now be standing on it's own feet...or rails