SWIM owners to expand into East Devon with redevelopment of Seaton pub

Hook & Parrot
In a prominent position on Seaton seafront, the Hook & Parrot pub has fallen into disrepair in recent years

OWNERS of popular Lyme Regis restaurant SWIM are set to take on a new project in East Devon. 

The owners of SWIM, who also own Rise is West Bay and the Rise Bakery in Bridport, will be taking on the lease of the Hook & Parrot in Seaton if planning permission for redevelopment is forthcoming.

A planning application has been put forward which, if approved, will see the dilapidated seafront pub demolished and replaced with a new restaurant and bar with nine apartments above.

The application has been submitted by Lyme Regis architectural firm Porter Haworth on behalf of W&L South Coast Investments Ltd, who purchased the property from Trust Inns in 2020.

The plans confirm that the new bar and restaurant will be leased to the owners of SWIM, who will develop the interior of the commercial unit.

The Hook & Parrot was one of the first buildings to be constructed at the western end of Seaton’s Esplanade in a distinctly Victorian style, and has always been a tavern, but the building has undergone significant changes over the years.

The pub has remained closed for some time with the building falling into disrepair.

In the planning application, Porter Haworth wrote: “A cursory glance at Trip Advisor will show that little effort was put in the most recent incarnation of that business and that the enterprise was an embarrassment for the town.

“Our clients completed on the property in mid-April 2020. The pub was still full of the previous tenant’s belongings and it was not until several weeks later that Trust Inns organised for their removal.”

Commenting on the current appearance of the building, the application continued: “The domestic style entrance doors are small and unwelcoming, and the tinted glass windows give a seedy appearance to the ground floor.

“The fenestration to the upper floors is measly, considering the view. Most of the windows are fixed shut due to salt corrosion.

“The appearance of the rear of the property is nothing short of a shambles. Numerous additions have made an incoherent mess of the rear elevation.

“The materials and construction of these elements are poor. Flat roofs are leaking and windows rotting through lack of maintenance.

“The aesthetic quality of these buildings is poor; there is no joy in them, they are bland and bleak, and they certainly do not belong in a such a prominent place in a World Heritage Site.”

The application adds that East Devon District Council member for Seaton, Marcus Hartnell, had received numerous complaints from local residents about the “sad state of the property and the business”.

As both deteriorated further, he intervened and he took the company to task about their plans for its future, urging them sell if they were not interested in making improvements.

The final scheme that has now been submitted to East Devon District Council consists of a commercial space on the upper ground floor with nine residential units above, spread over three floors.

On the lower ground floor there will be parking provision for nine passenger vehicles.

The application adds: “The Hook & Parrot building makes a minimal contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area taking into account its overall poor architectural contribution.

“The proposed development will result in the replacement of the pub with a modern café/bar/restaurant using an existing successfully operated model.

“The change in scale would have limited perception and incorporates design references to the existing building.

“The design approach has been to reference elements of design from within the conservation area whilst retaining a sense of contemporaneity.

“The materials are traditional and of a quality that when combined with the design create a building that enhances the conservation area.

“The building can be deemed to be a significant improvement on the existing and a suitable addition to this prominent location.”

You can view the full plans on the East Devon District Council planning website.

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