Give Old­way a 5-star fu­ture

Coun­cil urged to back bid pro­posal which could turn his­toric man­sion into 120-room lux­ury ho­tel

Herald Express - - Front Page - BY GUY HEN­DER­SON

PAIGNTON’S Old­way Man­sion could be trans­formed into one of the best ho­tels in the coun­try un­der new plans re­vealed for the first time to­day.

In­ter­na­tional ho­tel plan­ner Neil Wor­rell, whose port­fo­lio in­cludes dozens of lux­ury ho­tel projects at home and abroad, says in­vestors are al­ready in­ter­ested in his pro­posal to trans­form the crum­bling Vic­to­rian home of the Singer fam­ily.

His vi­sion in­cludes a re­fur­bished man­sion, Ro­tunda and sta­bles.

He says it could suc­ceed where other pro­pos­als have failed be­cause it would have more guest rooms and would be a five-star in­ter­na­tion­ally-recog­nised brand.

He added: “We have al­ready got par­ties in­ter­ested in in­vest­ing. With­out restora­tion, phys­i­cal de­te­ri­o­ra­tion will con­tinue steadily un­til the build­ings crum­ble into dust.”

BOLD new pro­pos­als which could see Paignton’s Old­way Man­sion trans­formed into one of the best ho­tels in the coun­try have been re­vealed for the first time.

Ho­tel plan­ner Neil Wor­rell be­lieves ‘any num­ber’ of in­vestors would want to put money into the 120-room project which would be to lux­ury five-star stan­dard.

Mr Wor­rell, who lives in Brix­ham and formerly owned the Golden Hind, has decades of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing on dozens of up­scale and lux­ury ho­tel projects at home and abroad.

He said: “Let’s get on with such an out­stand­ing project now, and stand up for this proud but di­lap­i­dated Vic­to­rian build­ing and bring some­thing new, orig­i­nal and un­doubt­edly a com­mer­cial land­mark project to the English Riviera be­fore it is too late.”

The next step, he said, would be to find out what Tor­bay Coun­cil made of the pro­posal, and to see if the com­mu­nity was be­hind it.

“There’s a re­ally good project in here, just wait­ing to get out,” he said. “I spe­cialise in mak­ing projects like this work. I’m sure I could find any num­ber of in­vestors in­ter­ested in it.”

Old­way Man­sion, once the home of the Singer fam­ily, has been un­used for more than a decade. Tor­bay Coun­cil re­cently re­jected a move by Mayor Gor­don Oliver to test the mar­ket with a view to sell­ing it.

But Mr Wor­rell be­lieves it would make “the per­fect lux­ury ho­tel con­ver­sion project”.

He said: “We have com­pleted a small study on Old­way Man­sion to show what a vi­able ho­tel project it is.

“Pre­vi­ous pro­pos­als for a 57-bed­room ho­tel some years ago would not have been vi­able as the project was not am­bi­tious enough. But sim­ply by in­creas­ing the num­ber of guest rooms to 120, the project im­me­di­ately zings with vi­a­bil­ity.

“The turnover rises to £10 mil­lion per an­num, the lease yield to the own­ers, Tor­bay Coun­cil would be around £1m per an­num. The ho­tel would em­ploy hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, dur­ing restora­tion and then when com­pleted there would be a per­ma­nent ho­tel team of around 120 hos­pi­tal­ity staff. And with such a scheme the £30m restora­tion costs be­come fully vi­able and pri­vately fund­able based on a long 99-year lease sce­nario and the pro­jected turnover.”

Mr Wor­rell’s vi­sion in­cludes a re­fur­bished man­sion with suites, restau­rant and bar; a re­fur­bished ro­tunda hous­ing a spa, pool and meet­ing rooms, and re­fur­bished sta­bles as meet­ing rooms.

Two new guest room pav­il­ions would be built in the cur­rent for­mal gar­dens and parts of the site could also be used for hous­ing. The ex­ist­ing bowls club and greens would be kept.

Mr Wor­rell went on: “I have seen and fol­lowed many new ho­tel projects in the past cou­ple of decades from draw­ing board to open­ing and be­yond and this one strikes me as be­ing fully vi­able.”

He said Tor­bay had been ‘cry­ing out’ for a lux­ury five-star ho­tel such as this for years which “would need to be at least as good as other lux­ury ho­tel prop­er­ties such as Bovey Cas­tle, The End­sleigh Ho­tel and Lymp­stone Manor”.

He added: “With­out restora­tion what is be­yond ques­tion is that phys­i­cal de­te­ri­o­ra­tion will con­tinue, steadily, on and into the ex­ist­ing premises and build­ings un­til they crum­ble into dust.”

Neil Wor­rell be­lieves Old­way Man­sion could be trans­formed into a 120-room lux­ury ho­tel

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