Councillors back developer’s amended designs for apartments

The new apartment block proposed at the Sidmouth Harbour Hotel

The new apartment block proposed at the Sidmouth Harbour Hotel - Credit: Archant

Plans to change the design of eight new apartments at a seafront hotel have been backed by civic leaders.

An application to build a four-storey block at the back of the Sidmouth Harbour Hotel was granted earlier this year.

A new application seeks to make minor amendments to the proposed development’s exterior design.

The scheme is made up of six apartments with two bedrooms and two with three bedrooms, including eight associated car parking spaces.

In March, the Herald reported town councillors’ fears about the plans having ‘inadequate and misleading’ information, after claims the apartments could be sold for private ownership.

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At the time, a hotel group spokesman said they had already invested heavily in the property and continued to drive tourism in the region.

And, as promised in the original application, £4million had been reinvested in the hotel, which included an extension and a full refurbishment programme that resulted in an additional luxury spa, restaurant, extensive outdoor terrace and heated outdoor pool.

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Permission for the eight apartments was originally granted in 2011, when it was Westcliff Hotel.

Speaking at last week’s town council meeting, planning committee chairman Councillor Ian Barlow said there had previously been discussions about whether the apartments would be used as hotel accommodation or whether they would be sold on the open market.

He said the committee had backed the scheme under the impression the building would be a part of the hotel - not realising they could be sold on the open market if the developer, who also owned the hotel, invested a significant sum in the hotel.

At the latest meeting, members were told the development would go ahead whether they backed the new proposals or not, as permission had already been granted, and this newest application was for a ‘better’ design which had taken East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) recommendations on board.

Cllr Barlow said: “These are minor changes. Without any doubt no one can say they haven’t spent considerable money and invested in the hotel, which is a bonus to Sidmouth and should be applauded.”

The application will come before EDDC’s development management committee on Tuesday, September 5.

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