Lyme Bay Leisure

Jun 022015

The Board of Directors have continued to work tirelessly towards obtaining a start date for construction of the holiday homes and leisure facilities at Seaton.  To this end, the section 106 agreement has been finalised and signed by all parties and the consent is now complete.  We are working with our chosen contractor towards discharging the pre-construction conditions and hope that we will have a presence on site in September of this year.

Our design team are busy putting the final touches to our unique Deck Houses which, as a luxury four star property, represents an excellent investment opportunity.

As we proceed towards a start on site we will provide the latest CGI images of the Deck Houses and the leisure facilities on this website.  As an interim measure we have included a facility  memorandum that can be downloaded in a PDF format below.  To ensure that you receive the latest updates and images of this much awaited development, we suggest that you register with us by completing our enquiry form using the subject heading ‘Update Me’.

Facility Memorandum

Oct 212014

Lyme Bay Leisure is pleased to announce that they have finally achieved their planning consent for the much awaited development of the derelict Seaton Heights Hotel.

The new development is to be called The Seaton Gatehouse, Hotel, Spa & Leisure Resort.   After overcoming many hurdles our revised planning application will provide enhanced footpath connections to the town;  make a contribution to the Wetlands Project;  and crucially,  introduce an ecology and landscaping plan to guarantee in perpetuity the flight paths and habitats of rare bats and other wildlife, found on the site, in this area of natural outstanding beauty.

The site includes a boutique hotel; a contemporary restaurant with panoramic sea views; coffee shop; gymnasium; swimming pool and luxury spa.

Lyme Bay Leisure will announce prior to Christmas their revised designs and their intended commencement dates.

This is very good news for local people as the new development will create construction jobs for local builders and tradesmen, as well as approximately 50 full and part-time jobs from chamber maids to fitness instructors, marketing and sales personnel, to catering and restaurant staff.

David Sullivan, Chairman of Lyme Bay Leisure, paid tribute to Neil Parish M.P. who enthusiastically supported the project through the torturous but necessary planning process. David also thanked Seaton Parish Council and the residents of Seaton for their support in huge numbers and East Devon District Council for their support, pragmatism  and trust with this hugely important site.

James Hetherington, Managing Director, expressed his relief at obtaining the planning consent and was eager to get on with building the project and kick starting Seaton’s latest and long awaited regeneration project.

James said, ‘’it has been hard work and costly getting to this stage, but now the real work begins. I am eager to get on with it and bring this site to life again and start welcoming visitors and local people to experience the new exciting facilities that the hotel and resort will bring.

For further information please contact us at

Sep 172014

The Seaton Gatehouse project continues to move forward. After several months of delay, Lyme Bay Leisure have resubmitted their planning application for the Seaton Gatehouse, Hotel, Spa and Leisure Resort. The revised planning application report is out for public consultation, yet again, and is due to return to EDDC planners for a decision on 1 October.

The earlier application was held up in planning because of a raft of issues to do with bat conservation and the maintenance of their traditional flyways across the derelict site of the old Seaton Heights Hotel. Following the advice of ecologists and bat conservationists extensive landscaping and design, management measures are to be introduced that safeguard the future in perpetuity of several rare species of bats.

Following the planning meeting, Lyme Bay Leisure is still determined to start construction within the next few months. David Sullivan, Chairman of Lyme Bay Leisure says,

‘’The project is now significantly delayed. This has proven hugely costly to us but it is hoped that EDDC will at last give their approval and we can start to make headway in delivering this project that all Seaton residents have been hugely supportive of ’’.

Once the site is fully consented construction could be completed over an 18 month period. Phase 1, the hotel, restaurant and spa could be completed within 12 months.

James Hetherington, Managing Director of Lyme Bay Leisure, is hoping for a start on site quite soon. ‘’

Following discussions with our project management and building contractors we hope to announce a start date quite soon. We are frustrated like everyone else with the hold ups but we are as committed as ever to bring this project to Seaton and be part of the town’s regeneration’’.

Jul 182014

Over the past few weeks, behind the scenes we are continuing to progress with the scheme addressing various issues with specific consultants. Our key focus over the past couple of weeks has been to put in place several marketing initiatives in readiness for us going to site. This process started with us finding and agreeing an appropriate name for the site. We wanted it to be associated with the town and at the same time project the facilities and the standard of the facilities that would be available once open. To this end and after much debate I am pleased to say that we have settled on: ‘The Seaton Gatehouse, Hotel, Spa and Leisure Resort’. In everyday use we will simply refer to it as ‘The Seaton Gatehouse’.

The Seaton Gatehouse

May 022014

East Devon district planners have given the go ahead approval to the regeneration of the derelict Seaton Heights Hotel.  After several years of uncertainty the green light will be welcomed by all. This exciting scheme signals a major boost to the local Seaton economy and to East Devon.

The new development brings a new level of luxury hotel and dining to the area with top class facilities including Spa and Leisure facilities and 38 new luxury holiday deckhouses. More than 60 jobs will be created and many more visitors will be attracted to the area.

Lyme Bay Leisure is determined to make a start on site this summer. Contractors are to be appointed by the end of May. It is planned to build the scheme in phases starting with the hotel and leisure facilities.

Massive support was given by local people over two rounds of public consultation. More than 500 local residents attended a number of public consultations and support for the scheme was  virtually unanimous.

A  hiccup was experienced recently because a feared impact on bat flight movements over the site due to its proximity to the Beer Quarry and Caves, a Special Area of Conservation(SAC). However, thanks to cooperation between local ecologists, bat conservationists,  Natural England and East Devon District Council, Lyme Bay Leisure were able to come up with revisions to the scheme which secured and enhanced flight paths and existing habitats to the satisfaction of all parties.

Neil Parish M,P. helped facilitate a resolution of these difficulties when the project was in in real jeopardy. He says’

“I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed. The development, along with the swimming pool, will be a great asset for the community of Seaton. This large investment in Seaton will be appreciated by residents and visitors alike.”

James Hetherington of Lyme Bay Leisure greeted the decision saying,

 ‘’ We are absolutely delighted to have this approval and look forward to repaying the faith and support in the project that was so overwhelmingly given by local people, by welcoming them through our doors by the summer of 2015.”

David Sullivan, Chairman of Lyme Bay Leisure, thanked Seaton Town Councillors for their enthusiastic support,

 ‘’ The support of Sharon Bruce and her colleagues on the town council and East Devon District Councillors for Seaton were massively important in ensuring that this scheme was approved.”

Mar 242014

Managing Director James Hetherington is pleased to announce that Lyme Bay Leisure have re-submitted a planning application for Seaton Heights having provided EDDC with extensive additional measures to protect the flight paths of bats. Whilst compiling the re-submission we have been progressing the scheme and now have some fantastic internal images of the facilities which will be posted on our website later this week.

Feb 202014

Following a positive meeting facilitated by Neil Parish MP. With East Devon District Council planners, and Natural England hopes are high that the project is finally back on track and heading for a solution. If all goes well. Lyme Bay Leisure (LBL) are looking to start on site this summer.

The problem was the lack of bat survey information on which to base flight bat disturbance mitigation measures. However, following consultation with respected and renown conservationists it was possible to identify flight paths from current available data and expert local knowledge and to identify mitigation measures. Natural England and EDDC accepted this approach as an appropriate way forward that didn’t jeopardize future habitats for existing bats and the flight routes across the site.

LBL agreed to make significant changes to the scheme to re-house existing bats in a purpose built roost and to safeguard routes across the site with changes to the landscaping and the site lighting scheme and to reduce development in certain areas of the site.

The revised scheme will be resubmitted to EDDC in the next week or so with the required changes and with the approval of the EDDC and Natural England it is hoped to have a planning consent by April or May this spring, leading to a start on construction this summer.

David Sullivan, Chairman of Lyme Bay Leisure said that ‘’we are grateful to Neil Parish for setting up this meeting and to EDDC and Natural England for showing the willingness to find a balance without compromising the stability of the bat population, treasuring local ecology, yet enabling development to go ahead bringing with it much needed jobs and visitors to East Devon.’’

James Hetherington, Managing Director, thanked ‘’the local ecologists and bat conservationists who encouraged us to keep going and helped devise strategies which offered protection to bats and wildlife. LBL takes very seriously its responsibilities for wildlife protection. As a local business we have an interest in retaining the area’s natural beauty as a place we want visitors to continue to visit’’

Feb 062014

Lyme Bay Directors James Hetherington and Dave Sullivan will be attending a meeting arranged by local MP Neil Parish  on 14 February to discuss the Seaton Heights project, also in attendance will be senior members of East Devon District Council and Natural England. They are optimistic that a sensible resolution can be found to the problem of “bat flight paths”  and the project can get back on track quickly. A formal statement will be released once the outcome of the meeting is known.

Jan 242014

We would like to share with you all a letter we have received which we found very entertaining and thought provoking .  Please feel free to contact us with your thoughts and comments…

Today’s Midweek Herald (22nd January 2014) prints a lead story which could surely come only from rural England:

A company called Lyme Bay Leisure has applied for permission to redevelop a derelict site at Seaton Heights. They started planning consultations in June 2013. As part of this process they employed Acorn Ecology to report on any issues relating to local habitat and wildlife. Acorn’s chief concern was that there were bats roosting in the derelict hotel building on the site. Lyme Bay Leisure incorporated “…appropriate bat mitigation measures involving an expensive new building solely for the accommodation of the existing bats.”. (I’m not sure how one mitigates a bat, but clearly the developers’ hearts are in the right place.)

This would appear to have met all the relevant requirements and so thought all the relevant parties including “… all the local bat activists and other nature conservationists.”. (Perhaps someone has invented a bat activist detector box; it is difficult to see how anyone could otherwise be sure of netting all of them.)

In November 2013 Natural England suddenly awoke from a long period of hibernation and raised an objection. “Why”, they asked, “has no-one considered bat flight paths?”. Why indeed! Why, for the matter of that, have the developers not hired other consultants to examine the routes taken by starlings, swallows, herring gulls and a host of other winged creatures? And what about those animals so deprived that they are unable to “shake off the surly bonds of Earth”? Has no-one addressed the needs of transient badgers (if not already culled), foxes and roe deer, not to mention pygmy shrews, natterjack toads and crested newts? And beneath the ground, how are migrating earthworms going to fare when their traditional route is blocked by the foundations of the newly built bat hotel?

Clearly the environmental issues have not been thought through. No doubt the developers are already hatching plans for a properly signposted overhead bat tunnel. Now they have also to think about provision for a further (estimated) five hundred and eighty nine species of wild creature which have been recorded in the county at least once in the past five hundred years. If any significant number of by-passes, overpasses, underpasses, canals, ski lifts and other diversionary structures are found necessary it will be only a matter of time before it is noticed, for example, that one of the overground tubes would block the route of one of the others. The topological problems thus raised might well prove to be non-deterministic polynomial-time complete and so incapable of any simple solution.

Give up, Lyme Bay Leisure! It was a good try but the forces of unreason are against you. Perhaps Tesco can put another store on the site instead; they don’t seem to have much trouble with the planners, and if they do they can always promise to “make provision” for another two hundred and fifty affordable homes. What if they fail to meet the promise? “Well, we couldn’t really order them to demolish their nice new shop, could we!”

Afterthought: Has Natural England not tumbled to the simple facts that bats can navigate perfectly well in pitch darkness, and are amongst the most agile fliers in Creation?

Charles, A Local Resident

Jan 242014

I felt compelled to post a short note following the recent press articles referring to EDDC’s decision to refuse our application on Seaton Heights due to the lack of information submitted on the flight paths of bats. Setting aside the mitigation we submitted as part of our application, my Board of Directors have been greatly encouraged by the steady influx of communications from local residents supporting our scheme and the work we have put in to date. Some contributions have been very factual others very humorous but with a serious underlying message that common sense should prevail. I can say without fear of contradiction that your messages of support act as further motivation for us to deliver this scheme and we will not be easing up on our efforts to get this through planning and under construction at the earliest opportunity. We look forward to your continued support. James Hetherington – Managing Director