Fortfield was in need of repair

SIR - I am glad that the Sidmouth Herald was able to highlight the planning issues at the Fortfield.

I was particularly interested to note the statement from the MD of the developers, that he had been told there were already enough hotels in Sidmouth and that the Fortfield was not viable and, therefore, not worth replacing.

If he were to take a drive along the Esplanade this morning he would note that most of the hotels have workmen carrying out painting and maintenance to ensure the buildings present well and complement our beautiful Esplanade.

This happens every year, the reward being amongst the highest average occupancies for hotels anywhere in the South West.

Even at a time of deep recession, where low interest rates have dramatically reduced the income of savers, (who make up a considerable proportion of our guests), we have still managed to attract excellent visitor numbers.

Not repairing and maintaining any building soon renders it unattractive, and therefore potentially unviable. One could pose the question that, had the Fortfield been maintained to the standards of its neighbours, would it still be welcoming guests in the large quantities that it enjoyed for decades?

Mark Seward

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President Sidmouth & District Hospitality Association