Locals are furious that an iconic Cornish hotel is to be demolished for ‘hideous’ flats they say are being ‘rubberstamped through’.
The contentious £100m plans to regenerate the clifftop road Narrowcliff in Newquay was initially proposed in 2021, when the landmark Hotel Bristol that sits there was sold to Manchester-based developer Salboy Ltd, after 94-years of ownership by the Young family.
Salboy proposed to knockdown the Cornish landmark and replace it with a soaring 13 story block of 180 apartments and a new 44-bedroom hotel on Narrowcliff.
Faced with the fierce backlash from locals, Salboy reviewed their proposals in January this year and redesigned the building height to ten storeys.
Before being forced once again to amend plans in May after residents branded the plans ‘hideous’ and a ‘monstrosity’ – it shrunk the tower block for a second time down from 10 to five storeys, and culled the hotel.
Keeping the 144 strong car park, gym, ice bath, climbing wall and spa.
Pictured: The area Manchester-based developer Salboy Ltd wish to demolish in a £100m new development. They have been forced to redesign three times already after backlash from locals
Salboy Ltd plans to demolish the Hotel Bristol (left)and replace it with modern flats (imagined proposal right), including 144 strong car park, gym, ice bath, climbing wall and spa.
In the latest news in this spat the plans to demolish the iconic hotel, which served as a shelter for school children in World War II and managed to recover after a severe fire in 1973, will not be presented to Cornwall Council’s planning committee.
Newquay’s former Liberal Democrat Cornwall councillors have united in their dismay and disappointment, which has been described as an ‘insult’ to the area.
They say it deserves a ‘fair debate on the issues involved’ and is instead being ‘rubberstamped’ through.
Geoff Brown, a cabinet member in the previous administration and who formerly represented Newquay Central, said: ‘I am amazed that the latest, highly contentious, application to demolish the Bristol Hotel and replace it with yet another block of high-rise apartments without even being considered by Cornwall Council’s planning committee is being allowed.
Pictured: An imagined design of what the new apartments would look like at street level. Newquay’s former Liberal Democrat Cornwall councillors have united in their dismay and disappointment at the planned development
Pictured: An imagined design of what the apartments would look like from the beach below. The proposals have been branded ‘hideous’ by locals who say they are being ‘rubberstamped through’
‘Even more amazingly the local member Cllr Louis Gardner has agreed to support the recommendation of the planning officers and not direct the application for committee consideration.
‘This denies the concerned people of Newquay the opportunity to question the development and ask relevant questions such as ‘why does the building need to be so high?’ and ‘would you like to live in an affordable housing block at the rear of the building which closely resembles a prison block?’
He said the application, despite amendments, still breaches the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan and ‘shows contempt for the hard work and concerns of our town council’.
He added: ‘Surely our elected Cornwall councillors should be representing the worries of the people who elected them rather than rolling over and siding with the developer.’
In its heyday the Hotel Bristol hosted a array of famous guests from Vera Lynn, Dave Allen, Eric Clapton and Michael Caine to Prime Ministers Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher.
Pictured: Narrowcliff road currently (left) as viewed looking back from the cliff edge and the imagined proposal by Salboy Ltd.
Cllr Joanna Kenny, current chair of the town council Planning & Licensing Committee said: ‘This would not have happened with any other councillors that I can think of. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the application, any development that causes this much concern with residents and relevant authorities, if not automatically called to committee by the planning authority, certainly should be by the local member, meant to be representing the wishes of local people and to care about the town.’
She blasted the proposal as making ‘nonsense of public consultation’ and years of hard work in developing the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan, saying: ‘Newquay Town Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee are united in their opposition to the development in its current form, citing the clear breaches of specific NNP policies that protect Narrowcliff and Barrowfields.’
‘It is unusual for the Committee to make a formal request for call-in but we suspected following our (unacknowledged) submission of material planning reasons against the application pointing out some serious misstatements in the officer’s previous report, that Cornwall Council is determined to award the planning permission without following the normal process for a contentious application.’
She said she felt the case against the application was so strong that Cornwall Council planners did not want to risk submitting the application to public challenge. ‘Sadly there is nothing the town council can do about it but record their opposition,’ she continued.
‘The Cornwall Council sub-committee might well have been persuaded to support the application but the issues would have at least been fully explored.
‘After years of working positively with Cornwall Council on planning issues, it is disappointing to see the planning process broken and our working relationship just thrown away.’
Hotel Bristol (pictured) was run by the Young Family over four generations from 1927 to 2021
In its full planning application (PA22/10572) to Cornwall Council, developer Salboy said it had taken the criticism from all parties onboard, adding: ‘The current scheme is a direct response to all key comments obtained during the pre-planning consultation process and feedback received through the formal neighbourhood consultation process to the previously submitted proposal.’
Christopher Davey has twice objected to the plans, saying: ‘I cannot understand how you allow this developer to entertain the idea that they can destroy the character and community in Newquay in the name of profit for themselves and their overseas investors.
‘This haggling with a revised proposal that still does not adhere to the planning objectives for Newquay, still has no element of design sympathy for the area and consistently fails to fulfil the housing and amenity needs of Newquay, is an insult to us all.’