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Derelict hotel probably can't be replaced by flats

Tuesday, 27 February 2024 08:17

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Hotel Virginia in Torquay (image courtesy: Google Street View)

Claims they'd spoil conservation area

Plans to knock down a derelict Torquay hotel and replace it with a block of flats are likely to be rejected when Torbay Council planners meet next week.

Powis Hotels wants to knock down the Hotel Virginia in Falkland Road and construct a block of 14 apartments in its place. The former 25-bedroom hotel has become a focus of anti-social behaviour since it closed in 2022.

However, council planning officers say the proposal will harm conservation areas and overshadow neighbouring properties, and should be refused.

A late Victorian structure, it is logged as a ‘key building’ in a conservation area.

In a report for the meeting, officers say: “The move away from a tourism use on the plot is not of great concern. The building should however be retained when considering heritage context.”

The Torquay Neighbourhood Forum says that while the proposal would provide homes on a ‘brownfield’ site, the building should be restored rather than demolished.

Historic England says the harm caused to the conservation area would be ‘substantial’ and the Victorian Society says the proposed replacement building is ‘of undistinguished design’.

And while officers point out that Torbay is short of places where new can be built, the planned development does not include affordable housing.

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