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Public support for hotel planning application “quite something!”

Major planning applications can often divide communities, but the level of public support for one in particular has been highlighted by councillors as they voted to support proposals for a new five-star hotel in the English Riviera.

Members of Torbay’s planning committee have now given the green light to unlock £100m of private-sector investment in Torbay’s tourism industry which will create hundreds of new jobs and see visitors spend millions of pounds annually in the area.

Votes in support of the redevelopment of Torquay’s Palace Hotel and the Lighthouse in Paignton follow earlier approvals for two other applications to redevelop the Corbyn Head in Torquay and the Park in Paignton.

The votes have been described by one councillor as a gamechanger for Torbay which will re-establish it as a prestigious resort. The redeveloped Palace will be the first new five-star hotel to be built in the region in a generation.

The applications were drawn up on behalf of the Fragrance Group by leading global hotel and destination architects, Kay Elliott, who are based in Torquay. Exeter-based PCL provided planning consultancy.

KOR Communications organised four public consultations, producing Statements of Community Engagement, and provided media relations and other communications support.

The two-day Palace Hotel consultation event attracted more than 700 residents and the resulting survey showed 86% support from the public for the proposals.

One councillor on the committee said applications such as these tended to split communities, but congratulated the applicant’s team on its pre-application consultation, saying the level of public support for the Palace application was “quite something!”

Another said all the people he had spoken to at the Palace consultation event had been in favour. He also noted the application was supported by the local civic society, adding: “I’ve been won over!”

The estimated cost of the four new hotels is something in the region of £100 million. The 248-bed five-star Palace Hotel alone will, according to the Torbay Development Agency, see the creation of more than 300 FTE jobs, support up to 400 jobs during the construction phase, see additional tourism expenditure of £29 million a year and boost Torbay’s GVA by £5 million a year.

KOR Communications prepared a bespoke consultation and engagement programme for the Fragrance Group’s Torbay projects, and are now working with the group on proposals for a multi-million pound refurbishment of a Grade II* listed 18th century hospital to create a new lifestyle hotel in Bath.