Multimillion-pound plans to redevelop an historic hotel destroyed by fire have been approved.
As reported by BBC, Permission was granted unanimously by Exeter City Council’s planning committee on Monday to turn the Grade II-listed Royal Clarence Hotel into 23 luxury flats, with a restaurant and bar.
The building has been derelict since it was wrecked by a fire in 2016.
A previous plan to build a hotel on the site failed to be realised.
It was then sold to Southwest Lifestyle Brands Ltd – a company run by former Plymouth Argyle owner James Brent.
The Royal Clarence Hotel dated back to 1769 and was said by historians to be the “oldest hotel in England”.
The committee unanimously approved the application subject to a number of conditions, including a substantial contribution towards affordable housing – currently estimated at about £2m – which will be confirmed at a later date.
A four-month detailed design process will begin shortly, followed by another viability check.
The construction is then expected to take just under 18 months to complete, as reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
Members of the committee were told the plan has been designed to “retain and showcase as many historical features of the remaining building fabric as possible”.
However, some parts of the remaining listed buildings around the site, including Six Martin’s Lane, are “unsalvageable” after being exposed to the elements for a number of years, so will need to be demolished.
Council leader Phil Bialyk , told BBC Radio Devon: “I would have loved to have seen the Royal Clarence brought back to its former glory and to be a hotel in a prime location on Cathedral Green.
“The fact of the matter is it couldn’t get going for the last six, seven years. We need to do something – it’s better than those horrible boards outside.”