Plans to transform Sidmouth’s fire-hit Fortfield Hotel

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 January 2011

Fire at The Fortfield Hotel in Sidmouth on the 30th December 2010. Pictures by Terry Ife ref shs 6276-52-10TI

Fire at The Fortfield Hotel in Sidmouth on the 30th December 2010. Pictures by Terry Ife ref shs 6276-52-10TI

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SIDMOUTH’S fire-damaged Fortfield Hotel will be demolished and replaced with 48 new apartments if soon-to-be-unveiled plans for the site are successful.

Fortfield Hotel. Picture by Paul Taylor. Ref shs Fortfield hotel 2001

SIDMOUTH’S fire-damaged Fortfield Hotel will be demolished and replaced with 48 new apartments if soon-to-be-unveiled plans for the site are successful.

The Herald can reveal the derelict building’s owner and a development partner hope to submit blueprints detailing a regeneration of the site to planning chiefs by the end of the month.

They say talks over the controversial premises, part of which was ravaged by a blaze last Thursday, have been going on for months.

“We are very confident these are good plans and they will succeed,” said site owner Andrew Torjussen. “It is in the interest of everybody to have a nice building there.”

“Approval of present plans would mean the demolition of the hotel. The fact there’s been a fire doesn’t make a difference,” he added.

“It’s a nuisance because we don’t like the idea that it’s even more of an eyesore now than it has been.”

Kim Slowe, managing director of Poundbury, Dorchester, based developer ZeroC, said the firm signed a ‘subject to planning permission’ option with Mr Torjussen just before Christmas.

He said both parties were “working closely” with East Devon District Council (EDDC) to prepare proposals and it is anticipated a formal application will be handed in by February.

Mr Slowe revealed the project will include the provision of affordable housing and a package of community benefits was being discussed with EDDC.

He labelled the current building as “a shell” and said he and Mr Torjussen were taking the “risk of trespassers very seriously.”

“The amount of security on the site now, given its perilous state, is being looked at with immediate effect to deter vandals and other unwanted visitors,” added Mr Slowe.

READ what Fortfield Hotel owner Mr Torjussen has to say about last week’s blaze and security at the site. Special report on page 5.


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