Devon's colourful new hotel dominating seafront

Corbyn Head Hotel taking shape in Torquay
Corbyn Head Hotel taking shape in Torquay -Credit:DevonLive

Torquay's latest multi-million pound hotel is taking shape on the seafront - with colourful panels giving the best clue yet of how it will look when finished. The new Corbyn Head Hotel is already dominating the skyline above Livermead Sands.

Costing £23million, the hotel is due to open in time for Easter 2025. The multi-storey edifice will eventually have 152 rooms within the walls of a sweeping design.

It has been taking shape for much of the past year, the concrete shell gradually rising from ground level. Latest images show bright panels appearing on the facade facing the sea.

The pavement level of the hotel is still obscured behind boards. Construction company Willmott Dixon is working to a design from local company Kay Elliott Architects.

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Corbyn Head Hotel taking shape in Torquay
Corbyn Head Hotel taking shape in Torquay -Credit:DevonLive

The hotel is a replacement for a building of the same name that stood for several decades on the site. It is being developed by the Fragrance Group, which is the company behind the recently-built Mercure and Ibis hotels down the road in Paignton.

The design, size and scale of the new Corbyn Head Hotel drew criticism from locals during the planning process. There was anger from many about the loss of views and its commanding appearance. Some said it was more Benidorm than Torbay.

The Torquay Neighbourhood Plan Forum said at the time it was not against the scheme in principle but the "bulk and size" was overdevelopment. There was also criticism of the design from others who said the colourful panelling was not very subtle.

There have been delays with construction with the original finish date set for the summer of 2024. It is now expected to be finished by February of next year. Fragrance says it will operated by a "global brand" but has not said which one.

A spokesperson for Fragrance Group said previously: "When construction started in earnest on the replacement for Torquay’s Corbyn Head Hotel in December 2022, we said we expected work would take around two years to complete.

"Completion is due towards the end of January 2025 and we are hoping that the hotel will open around Easter 2025.

"The new hotel, to be operated by a global brand, will join the Paignton Mercure and Ibis hotels as part of a multi-million pound investment by the Fragrance Group into the economy of Torbay."

Corbyn Head Hotel taking shape in Torquay
Corbyn Head Hotel taking shape in Torquay -Credit:DevonLive

The four-star Corbyn Head Hotel was approved by Torbay Council’s planning committee by five votes to four after a three-hour meeting in October 2019.

Supporters said it was similar to other large buildings on the seafront strip, including the Grand Hotel and the Abbey Sands development. Planning officers cited the economic benefits the development would bring.

The stretch of Torbay Road in Livermead is synonymous with medium to large-scale hotels, many now several decades old. The size and scale of the new Corbyn Head Hotel represents a significant change and modernisation to the area's skyline.

It is one of several large-scale investment projects currently underway or planned for Torquay, including the redevelopment of the harbourside area.

Rob Woolcock, director at Willmott Dixon, has said: "While the Corbyn Head Hotel marks the start of our partnership with the Fragrance Group, it continues our extensive track-record for high-profile projects across the South West, which recently included completing The Box in Plymouth and the Digital and Data Centre for Exeter College."