Planners have given the go-ahead for the development of 58 holiday homes, spa and extension to the 36-bedroom Highbullen hotel, golf and country club, near Tiverton, Devon.
The expansion of the property, located within an 127-acre estate with an 18-hole golf course, marks a turnaround in fortunes for the hotel which was bought out of administration nearly four years ago for around £1.6m by Frank Chapman, the pioneer of timeshare properties in the UK. Chapman opened the first timeshare resort on the banks of Lock Rannoch in Perthshire in the late 1970s.
Since acquiring Highbullen, Chapman has invested a total of £10m, including the acquisition price, in renovating and upgrading the Victorian property.
The improvements, which include the new Palazzo conference and event space for up to 400 guests and the acquisition and refurbishment of four self-catering cottages, have been undertaken with the support of Chapman's daughter, Susie. The new look loft suite was awarded the Best European Suite Design of the Year title in the International Hotel and Property Awards.
The new plans will see the launch of a spa in early 2017, followed by the development of the three- and four-bedroom holiday homes. Planning permission has also been granted for an additional 16 suites for the hotel.
Ronnie Orr, resort director, said: "In addition to the physical improvements throughout the estate, there has been ongoing investment in training and developing of the team at Highbullen, with a clear focus on ensuring unobtrusive friendly service and consistent quality and service delivery."
Highbullen appointed Steven Walker, previously at the Mount Somerset hotel in Taunton for seven years, as head chef in January.
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