On Friday 22nd April, councillors from the Planning Committee of Torbay Council visited the Salcombe Harbour Hotel and Spa by the Nicholas James Group. as part of its planning application to redevelop Torquay Pavilion,
However, Councillors Stringer and Darling, the two Liberal Democrat members of the Planning Committee, chose not to participate in this fact-finding visit.
Cllr Steve Darling, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Torbay Council, said :“This has been a highly controversial redevelopment proposal for this much loved area in Torquay. Whilst we accept that site visits of this nature can be useful, we felt that the public's perception could call into question the integrity of the committee once it had been to this other hotel of the Nicholas James group.We consider dozens of planning applications a year and accept assurances of quality and standard of developments without having to visit sites.
Why should we disbelieve this applicant any more than others? Cllr Stringer and I can at least consider the application, once it comes before us, without any public perception of us having compromised our discretion by taking part in such a visit.
Cllr Roger Stringer said: “This will be the fourth summer that the iconic building has remained unused. These plans need to come forward with a sense of urgency so that either this project can progress, if appropriate, or an alternative be sought to ensure the long term protection of the Pavilion. "