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Artist impression of 'The Hide' (Image from CMA Ltd)

Plans submitted for old water tower in East Devon

The plans for the The Halfway Inn Water Tower, located just off the A3052 near the Halfway House, would ‘breathe new life into a local landmark’, a planning application to East Devon District Council reveals.

The application proposes that a holiday accommodation pod is built on top of the retained tower, a new staircase to access the fourth floor holiday let is built, and car parking spaces are provided at the base.

A design and access statement, prepared by CMA Ltd, states that the proposed design will retain the character and proportions of the main tower in an enhanced contemporary design and that the conversion of this redundant structure to provide holiday accommodation will not have detrimental impact on the surrounding area.

It will include a lobby, a kitchenette, a shower room and a studio room, as well as a bedroom.

The statement adds: “The water tower is a steel framed structure that has been in place for many years and well maintained. The frame is structurally sound and capable of the proposed conversion.”

Under the plans, the main steel frame will be retained and the existing access ladder will be removed, to be replaced with a new external steel staircase to access the tank level, which will be converted into holiday accommodation within the new pod.

It adds: “The proposed accommodation at tank level will have much less structural loading on the steel frame than a full water tank, and therefore the existing steel structure and foundations will adequately support the proposals.

“The water tank itself will be retained as the outer skin on the new accommodation with insulated walls built within the tank structure. Due to the potential wind loading on the building it is important that the new structure has no additional bulk or mass than the existing structure, and that the tower structure is not enclosed at lower levels — and therefore the existing appearance of the tower will largely remain unchanged.

“The new accommodation will be located within the new pod, which will be insulated, to meet current building regulations and have a similar appearance to the existing steel tank. The existing size of the tank is suitable for a studio or one bedroom holiday let.”

Landscaping will also take place at ground floor level to ‘marry the regimented architectural form of the water tower with a naturalistic approach to planting’, with the planting beds set out in a formal manner, with gravel pathways set out from the four corner of the tower dissecting them.

Stair access is considered the only feasible option to reach the fourth floor, the application adds, saying: “Due to the constraints of the existing structure, it would not be possible to provide disabled access to the accommodation.”

The statement concludes: “It is considered that the conversion of this redundant structure to provide holiday accommodation will not have detrimental impact on the surrounding area. Through a considered design approach, careful detailing, and a sensitive landscape planting, it will enhance the local area, breathing new life into a local landmark.”

East Devon District Council planners will determine the fate of the application at a later date.

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