Uncertain future over ‘Fawlty Towers’ hotel

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A hotel that inspired the classic comedy Fawlty Towers has a big question mark hanging over its future, after councillors rejected its latest development plans.

The future of the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay remains uncertain after proposals to convert the property into a retirement home where dismissed.

However, owners Ocean Hotels group are determined to reopen the Gleneagles in the spring.

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Speaking to the Western Morning News, Kevin Wood, managing director of Oceana Hotels said: "We always close it for winter for a varying amount of time, sometimes for a month, sometimes two weeks. It is the slackest period of the year and it depends on what business there is in town.

"We have found if we stay open, we don’t make money. We are due to reopen for Easter. Staff were told in early December and we offered to transfer everyone to our Bournemouth hotels. The night porters are still employed so there is someone there. Some people found other jobs.

"We are hopeful of a positive decision from the planners. It is a difficult location to run a hotel being a mainly residential area and we have tried our best.”

The hotel was said to have inspired the actor and creator of the great sitcom Fawlty Towers when John Cleese stayed at the Gleneagles with the Monty Python team in 1973.

Former owner Donald Sinclair was said to be the inspiration for erratic boss Basil Fawlty.

Councillors in the Devon resort were told at a meeting this week the hotel had ceased trading last month.

A report said the premises were currently vacant and would remain so after owners Oceana Hotels had been unable to find an alternative buyer.

A plan by Churchill Retirement Living to turn it into 36 retirement homes was rejected after councillors criticised the design as bulky and lacking character and distinctiveness.

Kevin Wood, managing director of Oceana Hotels, said they had hoped for a positive decision from planners, but would now look at their options which could include re-opening at Easter.

Staff at the venue have been given the choice to transfer to the group’s other hotels in Bournemouth.

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