Sidholme Hotel ‘rescue’ plan called off after failing to meet fundraising target

A view of the hotel's exterior. Picture: John McGregor

A view of the hotel's exterior. Picture: John McGregor - Credit: Archant

The campaign to save the Sidholme Hotel as a community venue has been called off after failing to meet its £2million fundraising target.

A crowdfunding drive to ‘save Sidmouth’s hidden gem’ was launched in May by a group proposing to buy the hotel and make sure its music room could still be used for concerts and other events.

The group approached around 70 charities, trusts and individual potential investors, and even tried to interest a Michelin-starred chef in the idea of a destination restaurant at the site.

But in the meantime, the hotel’s owners, Christian Guild, put it on the open market, inviting offers of £1.9million or more.

The group has now ended its campaign, having raised around £280,000.

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A spokesman said: “We have tried our hardest over the past 11 weeks, but sadly, although raising over a quarter of a million pounds, we have not achieved our financial target of £2m.

“However, we are pleased to say that we can return all monies to those who donated both through GoFundMe (less a transaction fee) and by cheque, and will do so during August.

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“It would be wonderful if the eventual new owner/s continue to allow use of the Music Room for musical and other events.

“We sincerely thank all those who have donated, all remaining staff at Sidholme, the Sidmouth Herald who have supported our campaign, and our Facebook team.”

The Save Our Hidden Gem group had hoped the hotel could become a regional venue for music, arts and culture.

Their plan was to continue running it as a hotel, but their ideas also included serviced apartments for retired musicians and other performers.

They, and young musicians from across the region, would be able to make full use of the Music Room.

The group also considered splitting the grounds and redeveloping the former Lindemann Laboratories and Annexe, possibly into flats for young people.

When the hotel was put on the market last month, the group said: “Our intention is to establish a dialogue with whosoever becomes the new owner, with the aim of a continuance of the community access that has become established.”

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