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.

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.

Corbyn Head Hotel

Support the proposal
 Demolition has now been completed. Recent minor variations to car parking layout, guests access and roof layout 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, we expect these proposals to be submitted soon.

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 recently approved.

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 summer 2020.

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 Currently in progress. Retail shops have been completed and flats behind the building also completed.The Plymouth Brethren Chapel is to be sold off by the developer.

Palace Hotel Babbacombe Road

Support the Proposal

Demolition is well underway, 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. The Owner advises work will start next month for Completion by Easter next year.

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.

 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.

Sladnor Park Maidencombe

Against the Proposal

Our members voted against this proposal on the grounds of overdevelopment and difficulty of access roads leading on to the single carriageway Teignmouth Road.

Torquay United Football Ground

No Opinion

The Riviera Stadiums Ltd have announced they will not be seeking to move to Nightingale Park at the willows so this is status quo at present

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. 

Torwood Street Redevelopment

Support the Proposal

This major development of lower Torwood Street is well on the way to completion. The site is being developed into retail shops, a Hampton Hilton hotel and office accommodation on the higher floors.  There are no apartments within this project. Completion will be during 2020.


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.

Coyde Housing Waterside

No Opinion

The three residential houses on his site are nearing completion

Crossways Shopping Centre

Support the proposal

A Full Planning Application has been submitted 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.

El Patio – 11 Alta Vista Road Roundham

No Opinion

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

Harbourlight Restaurant Paignton Harbour Quay

Support the Proposal

Now Open

Torbay Harbour Company together with St Austell Brewery have invested half a million pounds to update and expand the existing first floor restaurant and add a large balcony on the sea facing side. There is also a plan for new properties on the far side of the harbour and we await site of the plans before presenting these to our membership.

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 has appealed this decision the planning inspectorate, we await the outcome.

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.

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.

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.

South Devon College – University Long Road

Support the Proposal

New grant funding has been received from the South West local enterprise partnership (SW LEP) which helped establish a new £17m building on Long Road offering students education in App design, film and digital media and gaming concepts. We are pleased to say the new building has recently been completed .We understand full University status is being sought.

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.

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 recently granted and work has commenced, 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.

Churston Golf Course – Bloor Homes

No Opinion

The Society, having supported Bloor Homes in its original proposals for new homes, a retirement home and a new Clubhouse at the Brixham road site await the revised plans following planning refusal after a controversial public consultation.

Mussel Farm

Support the Proposal

Proposed new mussel Farm welcomed by the Society members which is currently being established in Lyme Bay. Meanwhile the new jetty for unloading shellfish has been built at Oxen Cove by Torbay Development Agency.

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.

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