Plans for eight apartments near Sidmouth seafront to be debated

PUBLISHED: 16:55 30 September 2017

The new apartment block proposed at the Sidmouth Harbour Hotel

The new apartment block proposed at the Sidmouth Harbour Hotel

Archant

Plans to build a four-storey block of eight apartments near Sidmouth’s seafront will be debated on Monday.

East Devon District Council’s planning committee are set to discuss the proposals at its next meeting.

The Herald previously reported how the flats at the Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, formerly the Westcliff, had been approved in principle but revised proposals would see the lower two floors built four metres closer to Manor Road.

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.

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, £4.5million 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.

The newest design has been altered from a previous scheme after it was judged ‘wholly unacceptable’, given the sensitivity of the site.

The flats were initially proposed in 2007 to bolster the Westcliff Hotel’s viability and secure its future.

Recommending approval, officers said the principle of the apartment block was already ‘firmly established’.

Plans submitted earlier this year were supported by Sidmouth Town Council but it later raised concerns that it had done so based on ‘inadequate and misleading’ information. The council was reacting to claims from Michael Page, the hotel’s nearest neighbour, that the application was submitted by an individual rather than the hotel, so the flats could be sold privately.

He told the town council’s development management committee the designs were ‘unworthy’ and would ‘seriously damage’ the setting, which adjoins the conservation area. He said the upper flats would have a ‘bird’s-eye view’ of his house.

Ward member Councillor Cathy Gardner said: “Moving the hotel four metres further forward has a big impact on a sensitive area. All the other hotels are set well back from the road. The new application is more overbearing and inappropriate.”

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