Have your say on plans for former Debenhams site in Torquay

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(Last Updated On: May 1, 2022)

It is time to have your say on exciting new plans that will transform the former Debenhams site on Torquay’s harbourside.

Under the plans released today, residents and businesses can view and comment on proposals that would see the empty building demolished and replaced with an intimate south facing square with elevated views of the Harbour.

The square, surrounded by new cafes, and restaurants would play host to a vibrant café culture, celebrate the character of the area, and create new town centre living opportunities.

The new modern building would provide space for up to 5 leisure retail units and 16 residential units over 4 floors, each consisting of 2-bedrooms.

As part of the consultation process, members of the public are invited to a public exhibition event taking place between 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Thursday 28 April at the former small Debenhams shop on the Strand. Members of the project team will be there to talk about the plans and answer any questions on the proposals.

Torbay Council purchased the site in 2020 as part of its plans to regenerate Torquay’s town centre and help boost the local economy.

Prior to the final plans being drawn up, viability and feasibility studies were undertaken to explore both remodel and rebuild options and different uses for the site. Discussions with the community, key stakeholders and English Heritage were also crucial in informing the design process.

To celebrate the history of the Strand, more trees will be planted, and original iron work and Victorian styling from the canopies will influence the railings and balustrading in the new buildings. The redevelopment would also complement and enhance wider harbour public realm works which are due to commence later in the spring.

Cllr Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing for Torbay Council, said; “The Strand and harbourside in Torquay are one of the key locations in the town centre, and it is important that this area is seen as an attractive location. Town centres up and down the country are changing, this development allows for us to be progressive in our thinking to create an attractive place to visit, spend time, as well as live and invest.”

Vince Flower, Chair of Torquay Town Board, said; “Torquay’s Town Investment Plan (TIP) focuses on delivering a more vibrant town centre through the redevelopment of key town centre sites for mixed uses and public realm schemes. By maximising opportunities for town centre transformation, we can create new jobs, encourage business growth and attract new businesses to the area. We are determined to ensure that Torquay will achieve its economic potential by creating better spaces, with more people living and working there.”

The consultation opens today and closes at midnight on Thursday 5 May.

In addition to the public exhibition event, there are other ways members of the public can get involved and have their say.

The proposals are available on the council’s website, along with a link to the consultation questionnaire. www.torbay.gov.uk/the-strand-redevelopment

Torquay Library has paper copies of the questionnaire along with information boards on the plans. Torquay Library opening times can be found via: www.torbaylibraries.org.uk/web/arena/torquaylibrary

Following the consultation period, all feedback received will be considered prior to submitting a planning application. It is expected a planning application will be submitted from late May onwards, with a decision due in the autumn.

The Debenhams redevelopment project is one of several regeneration projects planned for Torquay after £21.9million of Towns Funding was secured by Torbay Council in October 2020.

Across Torbay a range of multi-million-pound projects are in the pipeline to make spaces where people can thrive. These include £13.36million for the Future High Street Fund for Paignton and £7.8million awarded from Network Rail for a new train station in the Edginswell area. There are also plans to enhance Brixham in line with the Brixham Peninsula Neighbourhood Plan with key areas earmarked including Harbour regeneration and Brixham Town Centre car park which received a share of £1million secured through the Brownfield Land Release Fund.

Torbay’s culture and heritage sector is also benefitting from grant funding, after almost £4million has been secured since the start of the year.

Discover more about Torbay’s regeneration plans on the Council’s website: www.torbay.gov.uk/spacestothrive

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