AFTER sitting empty for years a derelict hotel at the heart of Bideford is one step closer to being regenerated. The owner of Tantons has confirmed work has begun to remove asbestos from the former hotel, in preparation for building work to start.
Mr Walker has confirmed the building’s asbestos is being removed and contractors from Exeter are in place to carry out the rest of the work, he said: “The builders won’t be in the property for a small while yet, it’s just the strip out team getting rid of the asbestos and a few bits of furniture.
“We’ve just signed a contract with a building firm in Exeter and expect the proper work to start in June.”
Tantons Hotel in Bideford has been at the centre of a row between a housing developer and the Environment Agency (EA) over how high quay front properties in the town must be built to avoid flooding.
The developer, Adam Walker, has also revealed the ancient restaurant area will be leased out, providing Bideford residents with somewhere new to eat.
Mr Walker has also floated the thought of making a wooden platform opposite the former hotel; it would give restaurant customers a space to sit and delight in the river.
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The Tantons site is made up of three components – three town houses next to Bideford Police Station, the central block, and the main hotel building.
Mr Walker intends to refurbish and renovate the three town houses to make three two-bedroom properties.
Extensions at the back of the central block will be demolished making the building smaller.
It will have four one-bedroom flats and one two-bedroom flat. The main hotel section will be turned into eight one or two-bedroom flats.
When Mr Walker submitted plans for the site last year the Environment Agency questioned him to ensure the ground floor of the properties was raised by 1.8 metres.
He questioned if 1.5 metres would be sufficient because he said the profitability of the site rested on the building of a ground floor apartment on the section closest to Bideford Police Station.
The developer questioned Torridge District Council to overrule the Environment Agency’s advice and allow him to build at 1.5 metres.
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At first the district council stuck by the EA’s recommendation but eventually relented and granted Mr Walker permission to build up to 1.5 metres.
“What we’ve finished up with is a scheme which is completely uncontentious,” said Mr Walker.
The prominent Bideford hotel was bought at auction in March 2014 for £242,000. The quay-side building was severely hurt in 2011 when a fire gutted the property.
Fifty five people had to be evacuated from the building by emergency services. Subsequently, the site was place up for auction at a guide price of between £65,000 and £100,000.
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