‘Perfect destination’ - Rockfish reveal further details for Drill Hall

The first look at Rockfish's planning application for Sidmouth's Drill Hall. Picture: Grainge Archit

The first look at Rockfish's planning application for Sidmouth's Drill Hall. Picture: Grainge Architects - Credit: Archant

A new bar and extension will become part of a new £1million seafood restaurant on Sidmouth seafront.

Further details about the plans to convert Sidmouth's historic Drill Hall into a Rockfish restaurant have been submitted to East Devon District Council.

Business owner Mitch Tonks has applied to convert the hall into a restaurant, create a new balcony, replace the rear exterior of the building with a new single-storey extension and create an external terrace.

The Herald previously revealed the business would invest in excess of £1million for the project, creating between 30 and 40 jobs.

The application says the proposed main restaurant would be in the main hall on the ground floor level with four new windows openings along the eastern wall.

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As part of the plans much of the original interior, including the building's hammer-beamed roof structure and brick arches, would be retained as a focal point of the space.

A small bar area would be created on the first floor of the building, with views over the main restaurant.

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The Drill Hall was built in 1895 and used by the 4th Sidmouth Volunteer Battalion Devonshire Regiment after they were forced to leave their original drilling place.

A first look at the building showed the exterior of the building has been designed to looked like a working fishing building to fit in with the nearby sailing club, lifeboat station and trawler agents.

The plans said: "The Drill Hall has been of great use to the Sidmouth community over the last 120 years, and as discussions over its fate have advanced in recent times it has become apparent how many people from near and far have fond memories of the building.

"As such the proposal will retain as much of the original Drill Hall as possible, making the interior structure and roof space focal points of the restaurant whilst protecting what is left of the original masonry from further decay with a layer of weather resistant cladding boards wrapping the external walls of the building."

The building's existing toilets and staircase will be replaced by a single storey extension housing the service and plant room.

The plans say a small number of outdoor seats will be provided.

Mr Tonks, a father-of-five, opened his first Rockfish restaurant in 2009 in Dartmouth followed by premises in Plymouth, Torquay, Exmouth, Brixham, Weymouth and recently Exeter.

In a statement supporting the application, the business said: "With our proven track record and our focus on quality, family and sustainability, we believe Rockfish is the right fit for Sidmouth which being by the water will provide a perfect destination for people to travel to and eat fresh seafood."

The restaurant will serve fresh seafood delivered daily from their Brixham premises.

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