Give Oldway a 5-star future
Council urged to back bid proposal which could turn historic mansion into 120-room luxury hotel
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