East Devon District Council has granted planning approval for the change of use of the former Dolphin Hotel in Honiton.
Listed Building consent has also been granted for the historic building to be used as a restaurant.
In considering the application, submitted by locally-based Great Western Properties Limited, it was noted it was ‘heartening’ to see the significant High Street heritage asset taken on.
Honiton Town Council unanimously supported the restaurant plan and the district’s economic development officer noted the application, which includes first floor staff accommodation, would draw people to the town centre and provide employment.
Located in a Conservation Area, it is anticipated that some ”unsympathetic” modern features will be removed.
In granting planning permission for change of use, a planning officer stated in a report: “The proposed use would be compatible with the surrounding area providing a recognised town centre use that has the potential to add vitality.
“In terms of historic interest, there would be some loss of cultural significance and historic interest as the long-standing hotel use of the building would be permanently lost. However, such loss has to be weighed in the balance alongside benefits, including the ability to secure a use that would help to secure the long-term maintenance of the listed building.”
As reported by EastDevonNews.co.uk, the hotel was sold to a local businessman in the summer, having been on the market for more than three years. The Dolphin Hotel, located on a site once strongly connected to the Courtenay family, latterly traded as Montgomery’s Hotel.
The planning officer’s report noted: “The proposed change of use would provide an active commercial use for the building which would be of benefit to the town centre, helping to maintain footfall and draw additional visitors to the town centre.”