Anger as Sidmouth hotel falls derelict

PUBLISHED: 11:01 24 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 18 June 2010

FORTFIELD HOTEL: the once popular hotel stands empty. Ref: P-Fortfield-2109-bh

FORTFIELD HOTEL: the once popular hotel stands empty. Ref: P-Fortfield-2109-bh

ACTION must be taken to either demolish or partly preserve a derelict Sidmouth hotel, according to a councillor and neighbouring residents. Concerned neighbours of the dilapidated Fortfield Hotel have approached Councillor Stuart Hughes regarding its dete

ACTION must be taken to either demolish or partly preserve a derelict Sidmouth hotel, according to a councillor and neighbouring residents.

Concerned neighbours of the dilapidated Fortfield Hotel have approached Councillor Stuart Hughes regarding its deteriorating condition and he is now calling for Andrew Torjussen, the owner, to rectify the situation.

Mr Hughes is particularly worried about the safety of the building as the police have received several reports of vandalism and trespassing in the grounds of the hotel since it closed three and a half years ago.

He said: "The longer it remains in that condition the more dangerous it will become.

"I am calling for some action to be taken to address these issues and concerns by calling for the owners to demolish the building as this is the only way that these issues can be addressed."

Pam Sage, chairman of directors of Abbeydale, agrees with Mr Hughes that action is needed urgently.

She said: "It's an absolute disgrace. I keep my blinds closed in my bedroom so I don't have to see it.

"There is security fencing all around it, roof tiles have fallen off and windows are broken. It is totally derelict."

However she said total demolition is not the answer.

She added: "What we would like them to do is keep the west and south facade and knock the rest of the building down. Something has got to be done one way or another."

And Dr Derek Rushton, chairman-elect of Fortfield Lawn Management Company, said: "I think we are desperate for something to happen. The whole thing is an eyesore."

"Looking as it from an aesthetic point of view it would be lovely to keep the hotel as it is, but from a developers point of view I think we'll see that there isn't any other alternative but to demolish it."

Mr Torjussen told the Herald he has taken the necessary measures to secure the building and 'regular checks' are carried out on the building.

Three re-development applications have been drawn up since the hotel closed, one of which was withdrawn and the other two refused.

But Mr Torjussen hinted new plans may be in the pipeline.

He said: "We are in discussions with the planners about what is going to happen next.


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