Merge plans for Sidmouth seafront hotels

SIDMOUTH hoteliers Mark and Jo Seward are undergoing a three-year programme to merge two of their hotels.

SIDMOUTH hoteliers Mark and Jo Seward are undergoing a three-year programme to merge two of their hotels.

Having already partially linked internally the Kingswood with the adjoining Devoran - which they bought two years ago - they have now submitted plans for a modern glass porch to form a larger single foyer out of the two entrances, and replace the Kingswood's boundary wall to match that of the Devoran.

The hotels, both dated 1891 and of RW Sampson's design, are unlisted and lend themselves to amalgamation said Mr Seward, who also owns Hotel Elizabeth and Dukes.

Sidmouth Town Council's planning committee voted last week to support the application for the two buildings.

Councillor Simon Pollentine said: "It is a very modern, very impressive piece of work going on the front of Arts and Craft style buildings. I think it is very nice."

Councillor Mary Jolly added: "I think this will tie up two buildings nicely and give a better entrance for disabled access and a connected entrance on both sides."

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Councillor Diane Fung thought the porch, which will have a curved roof and appear unattached to the sides, looked "interesting" and said: "It could look very prestigious and a nice way to unite the hotels and leave the existing lines of architecture."

"Last year we connected the back office and all floors' corridors after a lot of laser surveying to make sure everything worked," said Mr Seward, who has consulted with East Devon District Council's planning department before submitting his application.

He says the new porch and entrance will double the size of the reception area of the 50-bedroom hotel, likely to be called the Kingswood Devoran Hotel.

"The intention is for it to look like a single hotel rather than two hotels stuck together," said Mr Seward.

Painting it the same colour will help achieve this.

With customers booked at the Kingswood until December 27, the Sewards would only have a window of about five weeks to get the work done before re-opening the following February.

If he gets permission from EDDC he must have the porch manufactured in time for this.

With this work done it will allow the Sewards more flexible dining arrangements and the possibility of providing a new kitchen in a rolling programme of refurbishments.

He said customers expected high standards of facilities "at a time when, economically there is enormous pressure on our rates.