Seaton Heights breakthrough

Leisure resort could provide much-needed holiday accommodation and a spa.

A breakthrough agreement with planners could see one of East Devon’s derelict former hotels transformed into a leisure resort.

Ambitious plans, first mooted in 2008, for the former Seaton Heights Hotel now look set to be given the green light.

Officers at Knowle are recommending the scheme for approval, following consultations with the Government Office for the South West and the tweaking of legal agreements.

Members of East Devon District Council’s development management committee will discuss the application next week.

If the go-ahead is given, Seaton will not only boast 75 new units of holiday accommodation and a spa it will win cash to improve community facilities around the town.

As well as providing a bus service link to the town centre, off-site highway improvements, an extension of the 40mph speed limit along Seaton Down Hill and footpaths, developer Mick Gripton will also fork out �125,000 towards the cost of a town centre manager, �100,000 towards the Jurassic Coast interpretation centre, �50,000 for the Axe Estuary Wetlands Project and �50,000 for off-site recreation facilities.

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Plans to include �50,000 for the refurbishment of Seaton Town Hall were scrapped three years ago - after it was agreed the work was unlikely to take place within the life span of any planning permission.

Negotiations with Mr Gripton have confirmed that the apartments will only be occupied for holiday purposes.

Some of the amendments to legal agreements were approved in 2009, but the project has not been able to move forward because of the economic downturn and difficulties in raising finance for the project.