Torbay Council has published a new report by Torbay's Independent Design Review Panel following a review of the proposed new development at the Pavilion, Vaughn Parade.

In the report the Design Review Panel acknowledges that this is an important and prominent project for Torquay and Torbay. The Panel supports the general principle of the development and believes a confident and exemplary scheme is needed for this prime location, but makes several recommendations with regard to the redesign.

The council has been in discussion with the applicant for several months about the design of the proposed development for a 60 bed hotel, 45 apartments and conversion of the Pavilion. It is aware of the views expressed by the community about the design of the development and so decided, with agreement from the applicants, that the scheme should be reviewed by Torbay’s Independent Design Review Panel.

The Panel met on Friday 18 July to consider the Pavilion proposals and asked three key questions.

1. Is the proposal acceptable, in design terms, in its current form? The answer from Design Review Panel is no.

2. Would the proposal be acceptable if it were ‘tweaked’ in a number of ways, but the basic form and scale remain as proposed? Again, the straight answer from Design Review Panel is no.

3. What should be done to produce a ‘confident and exemplary’ scheme? The Design Review Panel has provided very useful advice on key elements of the scale. This includes the following:

  • Ways in which Cary Green could be better designed to produce a multi-functional town square.
  • The potential to design the hotel element so that it better respects Vaughan Parade, but doesn’t necessarily copy its height.
  • Recognition that improvements to the link between the hotel and Pavilion have been made, but a recommendation that further refinement is needed to produce a scheme of real design quality.
  • Ways in which the public realm around the new development can be improved and simplified, whilst acknowledging that the 'new energy and activity along the harbour edge is one of the most commendable aspects of the project'.
  • Repetition of and in addition to its previous advice - a taller, slender apartment building would provide for a confident and proud landmark which, it is hoped, would be capable of winning national architectural awards.

Executive Lead for Spatial Planning, Housing and Energy, Councillor David Thomas, said: “Once again the Design Review Panel has raised the bar in relation to the quality of development. The Panel’s comments on this scheme are well considered, intended to help secure a very high quality scheme and provide a very useful framework for further discussion with the applicant.

The council will be meeting with the applicants and their architects to agree a way forward and keep the momentum going for this important redevelopment scheme. It is also important that the council ensures design works for the site and a revised proposal is viable, as there is nothing to be gained by the council insisting on a redevelopment scheme that is not deliverable.”

The applicants, Torquay Harbourside Developments Ltd, have confirmed their willingness to make amendments to the current proposals that will address the points made by the Design Review Panel. The Panel encourages a taller landmark piece of architecture, which the architects, Kay Elliot, have welcomed after originally taking a cautious approach to the overall height.

A revised scheme will, when it is submitted, will be advertised in the usual way. In addition, the applicants will be exhibiting the revised scheme. The dates for the exhibition and consultation will be announced as soon as they are known.

A copy of the Design Review panel report can be found at

Notes to Editors:

The Design Review Panel (DRP)was set up in 2007 to ensure the quality of new major development in Torbay is as high as possible. The Panel is apolitical and independent - it provides critical friend’ advice.

Torbay Council was ahead of its time in setting up the Panel, as the more recent National Planning Policy Framework now gives a clear remit for developers and Design Review Panels on design.

The Torbay Panel can be judged by the influence it has had on some major schemes - the award winning Beechfield development in Edginswell; the stunning Abbey Sands development on Torquay Seafront; the workshops and business units at Cockington Court; and, at a smaller scale, the new Co-op store in Chelston. The DRP has added huge value to these schemes and many others.

Torbay’s Independent DRP includes professional experts in architecture, urban design, public realm, viability, highway design and energy.




News archive