Dismay as plans for five-star Torquay hotels are scrapped

Torbay Council has expressed disappointment at a developer’s decision to halt plans for a new five-star hotel in the resort. And, he says, he wants to see hard evidence that building the hotel is no longer viable.

The Fragrance Group had drawn up the plans for the luxury hotel on the site of the former Palace Hotel in Babbacombe. The old building was demolished and the site cleared.

Work has already begun on a development of homes that will replace the hotel’s former indoor tennis courts, where Grand Slam winner Sue Barker once honed her skills. But now the Singapore-based leisure group has announced that the new hotel will not be built. It says the economy has changed since the plans were first published before the Covid pandemic, and Torbay now has a surplus of holiday accommodation.

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Instead, he wants to build more houses on the site, some of them being “affordable” houses for local families.

The plan for the new hotel had been well received by Torbay Council and the local tourism industry, who said it would be an important and far-reaching addition to Torbay’s attractions and help the bay in its ambitions to become the UK’s number one holiday destination. In a statement, the board said it was “disappointed”.

Work begins at the Palace Hotel, Torquay(Photo: Emma Slee)

The site has been empty since 2017 and in 2019 the Fragrance Group applied to redevelop the site with a new 248-bed five-star hotel with spa, conference rooms and parking. He also called for the construction of 38 houses on the site of the tennis courts, saying that the construction of the new houses did not depend on the construction of the hotel.

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