Neighbours given Palace flagpole as hotel demolished
- Credit: Archant
Residents living opposite the former Palace Hotel site in Torquay have rescued one of its landmark flagpoles.
The Babbacombe hotel is currently being demolished to make way for a luxury five-star hotel and spa.
But residents living across the road at Georgian Court had enjoyed watching the flagpoles over the years to check the wind speed and direction.
Linda Dewis, who lives at the flat complex, explained: 'We all used to look at the flag pole directly across from Georgian Court to see how the wind was blowing.
'When demolition of the hotel was underway by the demolition company DDE, Colin Hebworth, one of the residents, spoke to site manager Steve Clifford to ask if we could have the flagpole as a souvenir of the building of which we were so fond.
'Steve thought it was a great idea and arranged for the flagpole to be carefully lowered from the roof to avoid damage.'
A friend of Colin's who is a wood turner mad a new finial out of oak.
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After a fresh coat of paint, it was ready to be raised for a celebration by the residents on the Queen's official birthday.
The redevelopment is part of a £150 million plan by Singapore-based Fragrance Group, which bought the Palace Hotel and 19-acres of parkland at Babbacombe along with three other sites in the English Riviera for state-of-the-art new hotels.
Linda said the demolition process had given her and her neighbours something to observe as they endured the weeks of lockdown.
They have taken a keen interest in the development.
Demolition is due to be completed by September.
The replacement 248-room hotel is due to open in 2023 and the development will include conference rooms and luxury spa facilities.
There are also plans for residential properties on the site of the tennis courts behind the hotel.
Originally built in 1841 as a former Bishop of Exeter's Palace, the Palace's guest list included Princess Anne and the late Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
TV presenter Sue Barker's professional tennis career started on its courts.