Luxury flats to be built at Royal Clarence Hotel as part of £17M scheme

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Plans to build luxury flats at the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter have been revealed five years after a devastating fire burned it to the ground.

The Grade-II listed Royal Clarence Hotel was destroyed by a blaze in 2016.

At the time its owner, Andrew Brownsford, said he would restore the site to its former glory and reopen it as a hotel - but despite work starting he confirmed he was "unable to deliver" the new hotel and would be selling the building.

Now fresh plans to restore the site - and create 23 luxury apartments - have been unveiled by property developer the Akkeron Group.

The firm says it will carry out work on the £17million scheme on behalf of South West Lifestyle Brands, which acquired the site in August 2020.

The plans include restoring the front of the building "to its former glory" while luxury apartments, a restaurant and a bar will also be created on the site, which sits facing Exeter Cathedral.

Akkeron Chairman James Brent said: “We are delighted to share our plans to breathe new life into the historic and much-loved Royal Clarence building in Exeter, which the city is eager to see restored after five years of it sitting derelict following the terrible fire in 2016.

“Our proposals envisage the Royal Clarence being carefully restored to become a focal point in the heart of Exeter’s Cathedral Yard, with a publicly accessible ground floor offering high quality restaurant and bar space. 

54 engines were called to The Royal Clarence Hotel fire in Exeter in 2016. Credit: ITV West Country

“We are also focused on retaining as much of the building’s historic fabric as possible, restoring the famous façade to its former glory, so the Royal Clarence will look much as it previously did before the fire, and form a pivotal point in the centre of Exeter, as an asset for the city to be proud of, and a legacy for future generations.

“Our proposals have been prepared with huge respect for this building, its location and the special place it holds in the city. I would thank Historic England and Exeter City Council for their guidance over many months.” 

A public consultation has been launched today (December 1) and a two-day public exhibition is being held at The Mount in Paris Street from 10am to 4pm on December 7 and 8.