Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Scheme initially grounded by bats finally gets the go ahead - with more then 60 new jobs to be created
Plans for a £15million leisure complex bringing more than 60 jobs to the Axe Valley are finally set to take off - after being grounded by bats.
East Devon District Council has approved the hilltop scheme for a boutique hotel, restaurant, spa and gym with 38 luxury rental lodges at Seaton Heights.
The proposal was initially refused because of objections from Natural England who were concerned about potential interference with bat movements in the area.
But a revised plan showing a two-metre wide ‘bat corridor’ on the site has now satisfied their requirements.
The two-storey hotel building and holiday units, with a central amenities building housing a restaurant and leisure club, plus car parking, may now be built once a Section 106 agreement has been signed.
David Sullivan, chairman of site owners Lyme Bay Leisure, said the go ahead would mean dozens of local jobs and bring more visitors to the area.
He told The Herald they planned to appoint contractors by the end of May and start work in the summer. The complex would be built in phases starting with the hotel and leisure facilities.
Mr Sullivan praised local people for supporting the project and MP Neil Parish who helped facilitate a resolution of the bat flight path problems when the project was “in real jeopardy”.
He added:‘’ The support of Sharon Bruce and her colleagues on the town council and East Devon District councillors for Seaton were massively important in ensuring that this scheme was approved.
“I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed. The development, along with the swimming pool, will be a great asset for the community of Seaton. This large investment in Seaton will be appreciated by residents and visitors alike.”
Helen Parr, chairman of EDDC’s Development Management Committee, said: “We are keen to see new holiday accommodation provided in East Devon and in particular in the Seaton area, but we must always be mindful of the environmental impact. Now that a proposal has been drawn up that will satisfy Natural England, we are only too pleased to give the development our blessing.”
** And more good news for Seaton could be announced tomorrow (Wednesday, May 7) when the district council’s cabinet is expected to agree to underwrite a possible small shortfall of £165,000 in the capital cost of the resort’s Jurassic Coast visitor centre.
The move is designed to demonstrate to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which will make its decision on a second stage application for £621,000, that all the remaining funding is in place for the £3.5million scheme.