Concerns over proposed Fortfield development

PUBLISHED: 15:45 08 March 2011

Demolition  started on the Fortfield hotel in Sidmouth in January Picture by Terry Ife ref shs 7503-05-11TI

Demolition started on the Fortfield hotel in Sidmouth in January Picture by Terry Ife ref shs 7503-05-11TI

Archant

HOTEL and holiday accommodation leaders in Sidmouth have called for talks with district council planning chiefs over “grave” concerns about proposal to transform the Fortfield Hotel.

HOTEL and holiday accommodation leaders in Sidmouth have called for talks with district council planning chiefs over ‘grave’ concerns about proposals to transform the Fortfield Hotel.

Mark Seward, president of Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association, fears a precedent could be set if would-be developers are allowed to build apartments with no provision for holiday accommodation at the site- a designated tourism area.

In a letter to the head of planning at East Devon District Council, he said: “Should residential re-development be permitted to take place on the Fortfield site, we have grave concerns for the future of other hotels that sit within the same boundary and who may, in time, opt to follow the same course of action.”

The Herald reported last month how bosses from hopeful Fortfield developer ZeroC said they would prefer to make a contribution of around £1million to boost town tourism instead of providing holiday units on-site.

They added the same principle applied to the provision of affordable housing.

The hospitality association represents the interests of hoteliers, guest house owners and self catering and holiday park businesses in and around the Sid Valley.

Mr Seward pointed to a recently successful planning application, to expand the Westcliff Hotel, as an example of demand for hotel bed spaces in Sidmouth.

He said: “This is a reflection not only on the desirability of the town itself, but the high levels of quality and maintenance of the town’s tourist stock.”

ZeroC managing director Kim Slowe said discussions were on-going with the district council on the issue, and, “going well”.

He added: “We will comprehensively address what is required in the policies of the council.”


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