Final Sidmouth Fortfield Hotel plans to be revealed

EXCLUSIVE: Never-seen-before transformation will feature 31 apartments and no holiday apartments or affordable homes

LONG-awaited plans to transform Sidmouth’s Fortfield Hotel into 31 apartments are set to be formally submitted to the district council.

Hopeful developer ZeroC will unveil a never-seen-before residential scheme that contains no on-site holiday accommodation or affordable housing provision, the Herald can reveal.

The firm will fork out at least �1million to ensure both tourism and low-cost homes issues are compensated for elsewhere in the town.

The proposed building is reduced by a floor in height and will be “significantly lower” than early designs seen by residents at a public exhibition in March.

Apartments will be a reality by mid-2013 if given the go-ahead.

“We believe we’ve come up with a scheme that meets the majority of people’s aspirations. You can’t please everybody,” said ZeroC managing director Kim Slowe yesterday.

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He added changes came as a result of feedback from residents and a “robust” public consultation.

A single application for 31 ‘private’ apartments will be handed to East Devon District Council (EDDC) despite the firm saying last month two proposals, one with holiday apartments and one without, would be submitted.

“Planners have asked us to submit one scheme- and that is what we will do,” said Mr Slowe.

“We’re giving a significant contribution towards tourism and affordable housing off-site- it’s comfortably a seven-figure sum.

“We think we’ve come up with a fantastic building with excellent design qualities. In my opinion it’s a significant improvement on the building that was on the site.”

First artist impressions of the new scheme will be revealed for the first time next week.

Mr Slowe said, if granted planning permission, work would start at the end of the year or in early 2012 and would take around 16 months to complete.