Why Sean is passionate about an old block of public loos - the 'coolest loos in town'
- Credit: Submitted
Only Sean White could talk passionately about a closed Torbay public toilet block. But these loos could be the gateway to a whole new business for Sean and a whole new and 'cool' era and future for Torbay.
The loos sit on top of Corbyn Head on Torquay seafront with a stunning and panoramic view of the sea and our gorgeous Naturally Inspiring Bay.
Sean could see the potential of the site and that is why he put in bid for the Torbay Council lease when it was marketed and won.
Any new development will have to be contained within the footprint of the current building but Sean hopes that will include a water sports and leisure hub, cafe on the ground floor and a restaurant on a second floor - both with glass fronts and outside terraces with views to die for.
By the way, there will be no parking, no trees cut down and new toilets and showers for the public - yes, public - will be included. Everyone's a winner!
Sean will be best known for putting water sports, especially paddle boardin,g on the map locally with his Wesup brand and business and popular cafe currently operating out of the former Torquay marina restaurant and from Torre Abbey Sands. But now he has added a Solskinn business to his portfolio which is for the food and beverage side of things. Aptly, it is Norwegian for sunshine!
The hub at Corbyn Head will offer a variety of water sports including paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling to explore the Bay's reefs and natural environment. Sean is very big on the English Riviera's natural beauty, its Geopark and geology and heritage.
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The cafe and restaurant at Corbyn Head will be 'high end'. "The restaurant will be a high end dining experience with a great chef focussing on sea food and super local produce," says Sean.
The restaurant will also be low capacity with just 60 to 80 covers 'to keep the experience really special'.
The marina cafe will operate until it has to make way for the Pavilion refurbishment scheme.
The Corbyn Head plans will go through various stages - the concept will be agreed, then key stakeholders will be asked for their verdict before full public consultation and, finally the submission of a planning application. There should be nobody left to win over by then.
"We want the public to engage with the project" says Sean. Hopefully, the business will be up and running by the summer of 2023.
Sean has had a Wesup business on Gylly beach in Falmouth for the past 11 years. There are plans for a cafe in an old theatre in Falmouth town centre. He also has Wesup in Southampton.
But the Torbay project is very much on his mind at the moment. He says: "There is so much more to Torbay than being a great place. Places like Torbay have been born out of a Victorian era and there is a need for change. But we need change in a cool, modernised way that is non-confrontational.
"We hope to inspire new energy. We hope to modernise customer culture."
Expansion is part of the future plans in Torbay and beyond. "We have ambitions to look at all redundant toilet blocks around the Bay," says Sean.
Nigel Curry has come on board as an investor and is on of the reasons Wesuo were able to set up their water sports business at Torre Abbey Sands this summer. He is obviously a man who knows what he wants - he has been a project manager for nuclear submarines!
Sean is all about the community, people, space and the natural environment. He doesn't just want to create a new cafe and restaurant at Corbyn Head. He talks of a 'sensory' feel to the space. He talks of Biophilic design - a concept used within the building industry to increase a person's connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions.
Sounds a little heavy? I just think it will be damned cool! Good luck Sean - and Nigel!