When will Wetherspoons open in Ilfracombe?
By Ilf_Peeps | Sunday, September 18, 2011, 19:03
I heard a rumour this week that work may finally be re-starting on the old Collingwood hotel next week, and it got me to thinking...when, if ever will the new Wetherspoons be opening in Ilfracombe?
When will the old Collingwood Hotel in Ilfracombe re-open as a Wetherspoons?
Covered in scaffolding and graffiti, the Collingwood site is a blot on the landscape of Ilfracombe Seafront
The Collingwood site occupies a prime spot on Ilfracombe Seafront and would be perfect for a Wetherspoons pub and hotel.
The property was bought by Wetherspoons over 4 years ago back in 2007, and was originally expected to be open for business by November 2008. A catalogue of delays followed, firstly a planning permission hold-up in 2008 due to a lack of affordable housing being included in the development plans. The North Devon Journal reported back in August 2008 that "The committee decided to defer their decision until October following a strong debate, pending further negotiations with the applicant. The Ilfracombe members all stressed that there was no purpose for the delay. It was finally voted for the deferment 10 votes to nine, with all five Ilfracombe councillors voting against the deferment.Cllr Paul Crabb, Ilfracombe district councillor said: "If the initial development had been approved we would have a brand new hotel, pub and six affordable housing units by now. All the Ilfracombe councillors on the committee voted in favour of the development, but other members from around North Devon voted for otherwise — which is fair enough, but they don't have to sit and look at it."
Hopes were raised early last year when building work began and the scaffolding was put up on the property, but according to a discussion on Ilfracombe People work quickly ground to a halt after asbestos was found in the old hotel. Delays to the project throughout 2010 were wranglings over whether the building should be demolished and re-built from scratch, or if as much of the building should be preserved as possible. ThisisDevon reported in January this year that "North Devon Council's planning officers were adamant that designs for a new building should be resolved, before permission was granted to demolish – and it is these negotiations that saw out the old year. Conservation officer James Bate said: There are bound to be those who will protest at the demolition of the building and in a conservation area it's not the ideal first choice. But we'd want people to know that such a decision would not be for frivolous reasons. One of the pieces of information we are waiting for is the full engineer's report, which should offer compelling evidence that the building is not sound and needs to be demolished."
The most recent news comes from The North Devon Gazette in February 2011 who reported that: "New plans have been submitted by pub chain JD Wetherspoon to demolish Ilfracombe's derelict Collingwood Hotel and replace it with a brand new pub, hotel and restaurant." Ilfracombe Town Council confirmed back in June that "Full Planning permission has now been granted by North Devon Council." This was followed by a comment by Cllr Paul Crabb, confirming that work on the building is due to re-start this month: "Harrison Ince, the agents for Wetherspoons, have consulted with the council over timescales. Specifically, whether we would prefer demolition to occur as soon as possible, or wait until September re dust and nuisance etc. They are happy with either, so for the benefit of nearby businesses in the tourist season, we have suggested September, but asked for the site to be tidied up, with interpretation boards and info etc. In addition, the licence application has been submitted, and the building will be called The Admiral Collingwood."
The scaffolding has been left up for over a year now, with the building falling further in to disrepair and no further work taking place. Many of the walls have been graffitied on and the building is a real blot on the landscape of the seafront. So let's hope there are no more delays and a Wetherspoons near us will be opening soon! When Ilfracombe People contacted Wetherspoons the Acquisitions team had this to say: "This site is currently part of our extensive development programme and, as yet, there are no onsite or opening dates agreed. May I suggest that you monitor the New Openings page on our company website for the most up to date information because as soon as the onsite and opening dates are agreed they will appear on this web page."