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2001 Proposal to demolish Royal Pier Hotel and replace with very
Royal Pier Hotel, Clevedon: Timeline 2001 April: Proposal by Prowting Homes with Harvey Hill to demolish Royal Pier Hotel and replace with a block of 19 flats with parking for 21 cars. May: Clevedon Town Council vote against scheme (“current proposals were totally unsuitable”). June: Hotel spot-listed Grade II. August: New scheme to demolish hotel and replace it with block of 22 flats with basement car park for 22 cars submitted by W.S. Atkins and Harvey Hill. September: Abbotworld Inns Ltd., owner of the Royal Pier Hotel and Blitz nightclub, goes bust. October: Royal Pier Hotel and Blitz nightclub close down. 2002 January: Clevedon Pier upgraded to Grade I. “This pier is of outstanding importance for its delicate engineering and the relationship of pier to landward buildings, which creates an exceptionally picturesque group”. February: John Gent submits scheme to North Somerset Council for retaining and upgrading existing building. March: Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust oppose Atkins scheme. April: Opposition to the Atkins scheme begins to build up. June: North Somerset planning officials recommend replacement of Royal Pier Hotel with flats. Petition with more than 600 signatures backing retention and upgrading of existing building handed to Clevedon Town Council. September: After huge local protest, Royal Pier Hotel scheme called in for public enquiry and scheme withdrawn. December: Public enquiry delayed for three months to enable work on a revised scheme to be carried out. 2003 February: Revised proposal for 17 flats retaining much of the original building drawn up in collaboration with Dr. Mervyn Miller, a conservation architect. Submission of a new and more appropriate design, involving extension rather than demolition, avoids the necessity for a public enquiry. April: Revised scheme given planning consent. May: One wing of the Royal Pier Hotel gutted by fire. August: Go-ahead given to start work on conversion of the Hotel to flats. Owner Harvey Hill’s agent says that work will start in early 2004. 2004 ???: Crest Nicholson fully appraise a fresh scheme and invest in drawings and detailed costs for a larger and more contemporary design with 27 flats, retaining part of the original building. 2005 January: Owner Harvey Hill states that work “will go ahead in a matter of months”. ???: Crest Nicholson pull out as “scheme was not deemed to be financially viable for Crest to be able to participate in taking the project forward”. December: North Area Committee report on the building’s deterioration, advising inspection for weak and unsound areas and for chimney stacks and unsupported walls. It also advises owner Harvey Hill to erect a temporary cover over the roofless section damaged by fire. This was not done. 2006 June: North Somerset Council issues Section 330 Notice, a preliminary step to serving an urgent works notice or a repairs notice. July: A new design submitted by owner Harvey Hill in conjunction with developer, Michael Wight, for 27 flats and an underground car park. 14th September: North Area Committee grant planning permission despite being advised to defer consent by North Somerset Council officers. However, “the applicant has advised that funding has been secured to commence of the proposed scheme despite the financial margins being tight with such an ambitious project”. Councillor Ian Bates, acting as spokesman for the owner, assures meeting that work on the new scheme will begin in three months. November: Undertaking given by Hill family that “the Commencement of the Development permitted by the Permission shall begin with two years of the date of the Permission”, ie. 14th September, 2008. ??? Michael Wight, the developer, pulls out. 2007 March: Petition opened on Clevedon Pier for people to protest against state of the Hotel. Within a few weeks over 2000 people sign it. Signatures eventually number about 3000. April: “Friends of the Royal Pier Hotel” circulate leaflet. Hundreds write or e-mail North Somerset Council urging action on the Hotel. May: Owner of hotel announces that half the proposed flats have already been sold though work has not begun. North Somerset Council prepares to issue urgent repairs notice. This does not go ahead. June: Owner announces loan from Royal Bank of Scotland. Victorian Society puts the Hotel on its “most endangered buildings list”. October: David Buckland of Atkins requests permission of North Somerset Council to begin redevelopment works in advance of making a contract as specified in Condition 4 of the Listed Building Consent. November: Clevedon Mercury announces that work has started. “Friends of Royal Pier Hotel” consult a planning lawyer, TLT Solicitors, over the legality of beginning work on a listed building in advance of a contract being signed. November: TLT Solicitors advise North Somerset Council that it is both unlawful and criminal to allow work to begin on a listed building in advance of the contract being signed. December: Response from Principal Planning Officer states that a contract will be legally in place “sometime in January 2008”. 2008 March: Clevedon Town Council informed that contract will be signed “sometime in April”. April: Clevedon Civic Society informed that contract will be signed “sometime in May”. June: Humberts, the estate agent involved in marketing the flats, goes into receivership. September: Royal Pier Hotel Development Ltd. goes into receivership. North Somerset Council issues urgent works notice, which gives the owners of the Royal Pier Hotel 28 days to protect the exposed areas. October: Trustees of Clevedon Pier express a strong interest in buying the Hotel. 2009 ???: Early in 2009 the Daily Express publishes list of its top 5 piers: Saltburn, Deal, Clevedon, Penarth and Burnham-on-Sea. February: Administrator to Royal Pier Hotel Development Ltd., Alder King, puts building on the market and invites bids for it. Pier Trust submits bid. March: All bids to buy the Hotel rejected by the receivers, Alder King. April: Meeting of the creditors of the Royal Pier Hotel Development, including more than a dozen people who put down deposits on the un-built flats. May: The following item appears on the Agenda for a full town council meeting of Clevedon Council: “That in view of the increasing Public concern and fears for the Future of the Royal Pier Hotel, the District Council be asked to investigate and if possible implement the removal of the Listed Building Status of that Building. So facilitating the redevelopment of this site as quickly as possible and alleviating those Genuine worries”. September 14th: Planning permission expires on the Royal Pier Hotel. Most of the above information is drawn from the Clevedon Mercury or from the website of North Somerset Council.
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