WORK has restarted behind the scenes on preparing Torquay's flagship £20million Torwood Street scheme with a hotel operator on board — understood to be the Hilton group.
Meanwhile negotiations are continuing to reach agreement on a design for the luxury hotel development involving the Pavilion.
And the redevelopment of the Palm Court hotel on Torquay seafront has reached its next stage.
Torwood Street developers New Riviera Estates says it hopes to have a new revised application for a three to four star hotel, apartments, gym, office space, shops and restaurants complex submitted this spring.
The minor design changes will meet the needs of the hotel operator.
Peter Tisdale, from the company, said: "We are back at the table talking to planners on the Torwood Street development with regard to some amendments required to bring a viable scheme forward. We are confident these amendments will not be considered controversial or in any way detrimental to the scheme when compared with the original planning consent.
"Our revised plans will closely follow the design of the previously approved scheme, incorporating the same building footprint and the same number of storeys.
"However, we need to amend the internal layout of the scheme, alongside some other amendments. These change are largely driven by the requirements of the hotel operator the identity of which we will be able to confirm soon".
He continued: "The existing Torwood Street properties affected are now all vacant, awaiting demolition.
"The need to revise our existing plans demonstrates our continued commitment to regenerating this important site. We will be consulting again with the public, with construction scheduled to start at the end of the summer."
When the current application was approved in April 2011, it was said work would start by the end of that year.
Steve Parrock, chief executive of Torbay Development Agency, welcomed the news, saying: "The scheme has recently returned to the design review panel because it requires some changes to improve the internal layout for the hotel operator and the development now includes new office accommodation, in lieu of some apartments which is a welcome addition.
"My understanding is the operator is likely to be the Hilton Group which would be entirely consistent with both Torbay's tourism and economic regeneration strategies.
"These strategies seek to increase the presence of branded hotels across the Bay and of sufficient quality to especially attract the upper end of the market".
A Hilton Hotels spokesman said: "Torquay is a destination which has attracted our interest and we are in discussions regarding a site in the town, though nothing has been confirmed at this early stage."
Meanwhile demolition work is nearing completion on Palm Court on Torquay seafront. This follows an agreement reached with a neighbouring property owner on the treatment of the party wall.
John Havard, of developers Havard Tisdale, said: "We now have a party wall agreement which allowed us to demolish up to the party wall. A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes and we are hoping the ground work will start in January."
This will be followed by the construction of the frame of the building which is now expected to be completed in the spring of 2014. A new temporary road layout has been agreed for the seafront during the construction.
Patrick Carney, head of Torbay Council's highways department, presented the plans to the council's transport working party.
He said the road will remain two-way and the pedestrian crossing facility 'will not be lost'. The road will be pushed closer to the sea by 2.5metres.
CllrDarren Cowell, who attended the meeting, said: "I'm very keen to support it. You can't make an omelette without cracking an egg."
Meetings are to be held to progress the plan for the Pavilion Hotel.
Mr Parrock said talks were continuing with the developers the Nicolas James Group which wants to turn the Pavilion into a luxury hotel by building on its car park.
He said: "The project is progressing through the design process including consideration by the Design Review Panel. There will be further meetings following which we are confident we will be able to announce a strategy for moving the development forward."