What we do at the local level

The Torbay Civic Society Committee regularly monitor the local Council’s public planning notices to watch for any changes that might effect the built heritage, open green spaces, parks or the environment.

Where there is a concern about some change of use, the demolition of a building or a new build that is seen as important in heritage terms to the area, the Committee will put their views before the Planning Committee in order that this can be taken into consideration at the time the Council makes any firm decision. Members of the Committee also meet with Planning Officers from time to time and will undertake site visits where this is deemed necessary. Obviously if the proposed planning issue is highly controversial, in addition to the above action the society will use the media to put forward its views to the general public.

Members of the Civic Society are regularly updated on any actions taken on their behalf by the Committee, firstly by direct information given at our Society events and secondly using the members’ Newsbrief publication which is issued two or three times a year. Sometimes, especially where public land is involved, the Committee will create a survey form for circulation to its members in order to get written confirmation of their opinion on any given subject.

In extreme cases where a planning decision is taken which seems to fly in the face of all that Torbay stands for, the Committee may take legal advice, use the Ombudsman or put in an official appeal for consideration by the local Planning Committee. In two instances during recent years the Committee have challenged Torbay Council on whether or not Covenants put in place by past benefactors can be over ridden without there being full consultation with the electorate. In these many ways the monitoring of planning matters form a crucial, if not a major, part of the formal activities of this Society.


Ashbourne House St Marychurch Road

Support the proposal

Proposal to demolish existing buildings (Now Demolished) and replace with new build 17 apartments was recently Approved by the Planning Committee. This proposal was actively supported by the Civic Society as our Chair, Ian, addressed the meeting. The Torquay Neighbourhood Forum launched a judicial review which was later rejected.

Beacon Cove Torquay

No Opinion

Application approved for Formation of 5 x 2-Storey Beach Huts ( Not residential) and Cafe Kiosk with restored access.

Bishops Court Hotel – formally Normount –  Lower Warberry Road Torquay

Support the proposal

An application for Full Planning Permission has recently been approved for 27 new apartments and houses. We fully support this well considered scheme.The proposals include restoration of the Grade 2 Villa to produce new high quality spacious flats. Demolition of existing flats and hotel to ground level and reusing existing foundations to construct new low level highly insulated  houses, whilst keeping most of the existing leisure facilities. We fully support this scheme, with mininal demolition, maximum re-cycling, green flat roofs with solar panels, minimal landscape disruption and maximum consideration for neighbours.                                                                              NB.  Work has commenced on site.


Site of former Conway Court Hotel Warren Road

No Opinion

A new application has been approved for a 6 storey development of 14 apartments with underground parking on this long derelict site.

Corbyn Head Hotel

Support the proposal
 Demolition has now been completed. Recent minor variations to car parking layout, guests access and roof layout approved.

Devon Farm Machinery – Kerswell Gardens – Off South Devon Highway

Against the Proposa

Proposal for demolition of all  buildings to form New Aldi Supermarket, Drive-Thru Restaurant & Drive-Thru Takeway & New Devon Farm Machinery building. Together with New Units, Carparking & Landscaping. This application is now being wholly dealt with by Torbay Council Planners, and has been approved.


Dairy Crest Depot Parkfield Road

Support the proposal

This derelict site was purchased by McCarthy Developments Ltd. An Outline Planning Proposal was Approved by the Local Planners for a 3 to 5 storey high residential flats complex. This scheme has been radically re-designed by new architects and new proposals have been submitted which have now been approved by the council.

Former Bakery Barn Chilcote Close

Support the proposal

Plans have been put forward by Mc Carthy Developments Ltd for a seven flat conversion and new build. This application was  approved and work is now nearing completion.

Former BHS store Union Street

No Opinion

Full planning permission has been granted for conversion into a 13 screen cinema for the Merlin Group.Work has commenced on-site with a view to opening in late autumn 2021.


Edginswell Business Park, off Newton Road, Torquay

No Opinion

Application received for construction of new retail unit, together with associated Car Parking & Landscaping


Hatfield House (recently demolished Social Housing buildings) – Hatfield Cross – Torquay

Support the Proposa
This Sanctuary Housing owned site has Proposed two new blocks for social housing. One block of 31. Apartments & the other for 43    1& 2 Bed Flats & Parking


Imperial Hotel Parkhill Road

Support the proposal

Application for Renovation of existing Hotel, Construction of Spa, 28 new Residential Apartments and 25 Apartments from existing bedroom wing. Together with associated Parking, Landscaping and Access improvements. This has now all been approved by the council.


Old Toll House Torquay Esplanade

Support the proposal

Full Planning Permission was recently granted, after further improvements to the restoration of the Grade II Listed building were agreed. A two storey Cafe, by the Venus company, is to be constructed.

Old B & Q Building at Torre Plus Zion Chapel

Support the Proposal

Work has recently been completed. Retail shops have been completed and flats behind the building also completed.

Palace Hotel Babbacombe Road

Support the Proposal

Demolition has been completed, for construction of new 9- story 5*Hotel, together with 37 apartments/ houses

Pavilion and new complex at Harbourside

Support the Proposal

A £32m scheme to build 11 storey apartment building and a new hotel plus full restoration of the historic Torquay Pavilion. From the outset of the campaign to develop this site the Society has consistently supported the large development which provides for  the Pavilion to be restored and retained.   With full planning permission having been granted, a judicial review subsequently quashed the permission.  The current situation is being reviewed by Torbay Council and MDL

Pier Point Restaurant Torquay Esplanade

Support the Proposal

Pier Point Cafe – Torbay Road. This two storey re-build (on existing footprint) was Unanimously Approved, with ringing praise from all Councillors. New owners decided to complete refurbish the existing building for the time being.

Premier Inn at the Torquay Terrace Car Park

Support the Proposal

Torbay Council has given full planning permission for this development which will be owned by Torbay Council. A long lease has already been signed by Premier Inn. Contractors have commenced work on site. Recent re-design of the lift and stairs area have been approved.

Sheddon Hall Hotel

No Opinion

We understand that there will be a complete rebuild and we await new proposals.

Stoodley Knoll Estate

Support the Proposal

One of the largest remaining open green spaces left in Torquay which also includes the old Stoodley Knowle Convent school and chapel. A revised application has been made, reducing the height and number of dwellings.The project does not include a Care Home facility which was previously included in the plan. The listed chapel, which has a Blue Plaque from the Society, is not part of the demolition plans. This application has been unanimously approved. Work is due to commence during August 2021


 South Devon Hotel St Marychurch Road

Support the Proposal

Main villa complete and flats being sold. Separate project of 36 homes in St Margarets Close still in progress.

Torbay Hospital A & E Department

Support the Proposal

Torbay Hospital was granted permission for brand new 3-storey building and extension, to bring all elements under one roof. This is a £13m development, for which we believe funding has been secured. It will include both major and minor injuries, and cafe waiting area. 

Tor Marine, off Newton Road, Torquay

Support the Proposal

The Council proposes construction of 78 assisted living flats on former McCarthy site behind KwikFit. Grant money received to bring forward the site, which was abandoned after most groundworks were completed.

Old Torbay Magistrates Court – Higher Union Street – Torquay

Support the Proposal

A proposal has been submitted for conversion to form 10 new residential flats and parking


Torwood Street Redevelopment

Support the Proposal

The site has been developed into retail shops, a Hampton Hilton hotel and office accommodation on the higher floors.  There are no apartments within this project. Torwood Street is now completed.

Watcombe Hall Watcombe beach Road Torquay

Support the Proposal

Conversion of existing buildings into 8 Flats and 4 Dwellings. This Victorian Villa has had a number of various uses in Mental Health Care, closed a couple of years go after a damning CQC inspection. The existing building will be upgraded, keeping and improving the formal gardens areas, to provide new dwellings. The Proposals were unanimously Approved.



Claylands Business Park

No Opinion

Torbay Development Agency (TDA), have already intimated that this will be their next major brownfield business site in Torbay. Work has recently commenced on site.

Crossways Shopping Centre

Support the proposal

A Full Planning Application has been Approved for complete re-development of this redundant site. Comprising a 5-storey sheltered scheme of 11 flats, and a 7-storey extra-care scheme of 78 flats. Together with commercial, communal and associated open space. The compulsory purchase has now been completed.

El Patio – 11 Alta Vista Road Roundham

No Opinion

Outline application for 12 residential flats on a 3 storey new build have been approved.

Inglewood Farm Brixham Road

No Opinion

Latest major housing application by developer Abacus Projects/Deeley Freed Estates covering a mixed use development, which includes 373 Houses, on 70 acres of land west of the A3022 Brixham Road at Goodrington. This planning application was unanimously rejected by the Committee on the 10th Feb, with the Committee agreeing with ALL the reasons as put forward by the Planning Officers. The developer appealed this decision to the planning inspectorate, the decision was reversed and has now been given the go ahead.

Land – West of Kings Ash Road Paignton

No Opinion

Application received for Formation of New Lidl Supermarket, with 2 ancillary shop units and New Access Junction and Carparking


Old Police Station Oldway Road

Support the Proposal

This site purchased by McCarthy Contracting & Development Ltd, on Southfield Road, was originally the Paignton Police Station, a revised application to construct an L – shaped 3/4 story block of apartments was recently approved by the planning committee. Works have commenced on site.

Oldway Estate – Mansion and Gardens

No Opinion

With the loss of Akkeron (a company we had consistently supported) a new working party has been set up by Torbay Council, on which we are represented. The challenge now is to find a new use for the Mansion and other buildings as well as allowing the public permanent access to the site which has always been an inherent condition of the original covenants. The public gardens and Oldway Mansion are formally listed by Heritage England and Torbay Council. An appointed independent consultant  produced a Business Plan at the end of 2018.  A charity trust is currently being set up to facilitate refurbishment and future uses. The gardens are currently being maintained by volunteers and we have set up a fund to help support this work.

Occombe Farm Visitors Centre

Support the proposal

This has been repurchased from Coast and Countryside Trust who had a long lease on the land. New homes planned for this site. Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust were recently granted full permission for a major improvement scheme for this all-weather family visitor attraction. The scheme includes extended farm shop and cafe, two livestock barns, a new indoor play and community barn, outdoor paddocks, wildlife habitats and pond with observation hut. This was passed subject to moving a small animal barn away from a designated Green Space. New Terraced Cafe and Farm Shop are open.

Paignton Picture House

Support the Proposal

As one of the initial supporters to this new refurbishment scheme Society members have not only visited the Picture House but also supported the planning process and the grant scheme. The challenge now is for the remaining financial challenges to be met so that the project can be completed and the Picture House reopened in its former glory. We understand that various grant funders have been approached to assist with this project.

The Park Hotel Paighton Esplanade

Support the Proposal

The Fragrance Group purchased this site and planning permission was subsequently granted for a five storey hotel. Construction has commenced for a 4* Mercure Hotel.

Torbay Holiday Motel Totnes Rd Paignton

No Opinion

Demolition of existing buildings (But retaining No 2 Beechwood Court Buildings) and replace with 39 Houses.The proposal includes the construction of a main spine road, with new access junction to Totnes Road with right turn lane, to provide access for existing Mobile Home Park and new housing schemes on south side of Collaton St Mary. The Outline application was Approved.


Totnes Road Collaton St Mary

No Opinion

73 new dwellings by Taylor Wimpey had been turned down mainly  on the question of inadequate drainage and sewage facilities of South West Water and access to Totnes Road.
This Outline Application was recently Approved, following re-submission with detailed drainage reports and road junction/pedestrian details.


The Lighthouse Paignton Esplanade

Support the Proposal

After being empty for over a decade this former nightclub was purchased by a London based company Floorsave, but has now been sold on to the Fragrance Group .We support the proposal for a 117-bed 3 *Ibis Hotel. Full Permission was granted and work is well underway, in tandem with the Park Hotel building works.

Victoria Car Park Paignton

No Opinion

Torbay Council is currently seeking a developer to demolish the new part of the car park and possibly create new social housing

Off Totnes Road Collaton St Mary (Opp Parkers Arms)

No Opinion

Outline permission for 100 houses in fields opp Parkers Arms, was deferred by the planning committee – for further details and site visit to the proposed new junction with Totnes Road. This application has now been approved


Central Car Park

No Opinion

The major site in Brixham that in the past was designated for a national supermarket but is currently part of Torbay Council’s regeneration plan which includes Brixham town centre. The council will shortly receive Grant Funding money to assist the proposed construction of 70 affordable houses.

Premier Marina Company at Noss – Kingswear

Support the Proposal

This major application is supported by the Society who have been working closely with South Devon College concerning its new proposed Marine Academy which is an integral part of the overall project. The new Academy for apprentices will be phase 1 of the project following which will be a new waterside hotel, an expansion of berths and a new berth stack plus on site services for boat owners including a major lifting service. Eventually there will be new houses created at the rear of the site. Plans have been submitted to South Hams District Council and with these plans having been passed a new access bridge has already been completed. Demolition of many of the outbuildings has now been completed and a new carpark has been established ready for the new builds above.

Shoalstone Pool, Berry Head Road, Brixham

Support the Proposal

Application to construct 21 new beach huts, with seating improvements above and to side of Shoals Cafe.

Upton Manor Farm, off St Mary’s Road, Brixham

Against the Proposal

Application received for 133 Residential Houses on a green field site of farmland. Hundreds of objections have been received and it is contrary to the Neighbourhood plan.

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