When building giants Midas hit the financial wall it was feared the impact would have a far-reaching effect in Torbay
The writing was on the wall when rumours started flying around about the financial stability of the firm before Christmas. That was followed by an ominous wall of silence and when sub-contractors stopped getting paid a few weeks ago that was it.
They downed tools and work stopped at some major development sites. Included was work on the two new hotels on Paignton seafront for the Fragrance Group and Torbay Council projects namely the building of the Harbour View Premier Inn hotel on The Terrace in Torquay, new affordable homes at Tweenaway Cross in Paignton and and an improvement scheme at Torquay's St Cuthbert Mayne School.
There were some predicting all kinds of doom and gloom and a genuine fear that these sites - some key and landmark locations - would be left dormant for months if not years.
There was particular concern for the Fragrance hotels. I understand owner and Singapore billionaire James Koah was not a happy chappie. He could have quite easily mothballed the sites and walked away. It also didn't bode well for his other two developments in the Bay - regeneration projects at the former Palace and Corbyn Head hotels.
But the Fragance fears were allayed within a matter of days, Torbay-based Martin Rogers, Fragrances UK representative, announced the Paignton schemes were being taken on by Devon and Cornwall construction company Brady Construction Services.
After a three-month period of limited progress, work is expected to resume within a matter of weeks on the multi-million pound developments, located on the neighbouring sites of the former Park Hotel and Lighthouse Club.
Martin, who must take a lot of credit for salvaging the local schemes, said at the time: "We are pleased to have appointed Brady Construction as the contractors to complete our exciting hotel projects and our aim will be to complete both hotels this year."
Just as important was his commitment to the Bay and those other two developments.
He said: "Despite the difficulties that we faced, our commitment to deliver these two new hotels to the Torbay seafront, creating the much-required vibrancy to the Bay area, as well as new job opportunities, remains unchanged.”
It looks as if work will also be resuming shortly over at the Harbour View.
Deputy council leader Darren Cowell said: "There are active and positive conversations going on to get back on site within two to three weeks. It just depends on how those conversations develop."
At Tweenaway a new contractor should be back on site 'imminently'. There isn't a time pressure on the school scheme.
it just struck me that despite all these recent issues there was still a massive feeling of confidence in and for the Bay at the moment - I gather contractors have been approaching the council to help with some of these schemes and not the other way around
Cllr Cowell says: "Given the fact that we have been going through a pandemic there are still people wanting to invest in the Bay.
"It is a massive vote of confidence in terms of the direction of travel that we are collectively moving in. It is about partnership working with the community, many different organisations and the private sector.
"It is also about celebrating what we do best."
And that leads nicely on to a campaign we are about to launch in the Torbay Weekly. 'Building a Greater Torbay' is being supported by the council, TDA, South Devon College, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Wollens solicitors and South Devon building supplies firm and well-known community champions Interline
I am not going to give too much away before the official launch, except to say it celebrates where the Naturally Inspiring English Riviera is at the moment and where it is heading in the future.
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