Fears over Torbay Olympic torch route 'eyesores'
A TORBAY councillor has called for action on two major development sites, saying it is a shame the Olympic torch procession will have to run past the eyesores.
Cllr Darren Cowell said it was time developer Havard Tisdale, which is behind the Palm Court and Torwood Street multimillion-pound projects, keeps true to its word and moves in to start redevelopment.
The company says it hopes to be in a position to announce start dates shortly.
Cllr Cowell's plea for quick action comes as the final hurdle on Torwood Street was lifted by Torbay planners after a Section 106 agreement was signed by both parties.
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The developer has announced it will start work on Palm Court before it moves in with diggers on the former Royal Garage site at 4 to 24 Torwood Street.
John Havard, from Havard Tisdale, said: "Once the S106 agreements are agreed for both sites, we will announce start dates for the work.
"However, given that the Abbey Crescent site has been identified by the mayor, Torbay Council and the Torbay Development Agency as the priority in terms of the need for redevelopment, it is likely the Abbey Crescent work will begin before Torwood Street."
Cllr Cowell said the £12million and £20million respective schemes ought to be independent of one another and start concurrently.
He said: "Palm Court shouldn't be linked to the Torwood Street scheme.
"They are two separate projects but it is of concern if the developer waits to complete one project before doing the other one.
"I hope we will see the two projects being developed together, especially when Torwood Street has had planning consent for much longer than Palm Court. It is disappointing work has not started."
The Hilton hotel group has been linked to the Torwood Street project. A hotel, fitness centre, offices and 14 apartments with vehicular and pedestrian access are part of the plans.
Cllr Cowell added: "I don't think the Hilton group will be happy to hang around for months or years until the project gets built. What then?
"As for Palm Court, they should move in quickly to clear the site so it doesn't look like an eyesore.
"When the Olympic flame comes to Torquay it will pass an area where there used to be a balloon, with a burnt-out hotel and a former shopping street which has been boarded up. What does that say about Torquay?"
A spokesman for Torbay Development Agency said: "We are liaising closely with the developer and its contractors on the works programme for the Palm Court site.
"We are anticipating it will be possible to start demolition work within a matter of weeks.
"The Palm Court and the Torwood Street schemes are independent. While we are keen to see both sites developed, we are pleased the developer is bringing forward the prime seafront scheme.
"It is a matter for the developer and its contractors, and not for Torbay Council or the TDA, to make decisions on the programming of its schemes."