Andrew Brownsword Hotels reveals new owner for Royal Clarence Hotel

Closeup of Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter from north tower of the cathedral, 2010

There is renewed hope for the fire-hit Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter as a new owner is announced.

Andrew Brownsword Hotels has revealed that the historic hotel that was destroyed by a fire in 2016, has been acquired by South West Lifestyle Brands Limited.

The group put the property on the market with Christie + Co in September 2019, three years after the blaze that started in a neighbouring building but spread throughout The Royal Clarence destroying everything in its path.

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Last year when significant works were completed to protect and restore the site’s fabric, Andrew Brownsword made the ‘heart breaking’ decision to sell the site.

Now it’s been announced that South West Lifestyle Brands Limited, which is indirectly-owned by former Plymouth Argyle chairman James Brent and his wife, are the new owners of the property that already comes with planning permission for a new 74-bedroom hotel.

Brent said: “We are delighted to have acquired this important site in such a stunning location and we look forward to working with the city, the cathedral and other partners to replace the historic building.”

Andrew Brownsword added: “While we are deeply saddened that we were unable to return the hotel to the city that we love, we are satisfied that we have found a good owner for the site, who will restore this corner of Cathedral Yard to its former glory.

“We offer James [Brent] and his team every good wish as they set to work.”

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Zoe Monk

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