Ambitious £5m Plan Announced For Scilly’s Oldest Hotel

tregarthens plans Aug 2015_1

Copyright of Scott & Company Architects.

The new owner of Tregarthen’s Hotel has announced an ambitious £5m plan to create a better visitor experience and offer additional bed spaces.

And if approved by planners, the project will transform the appearance of St Mary’s oldest hotel.

Nigel Wolstenholme says he had a vision for the business before he bought it last April.

He wants the hotel to regain its former status of around 15 years ago before, he says, underinvestment and the recession took its toll.

He’s aiming for 4-star status, to appeal to both the family market in summer and attract a more up-market clientele.

Nigel says he’s keen to tap into an audience that will bring more money both into the hotel and the islands as a whole.

Plans for the Garrison Hill entrance. Copyright of Scott & Company Architects.

Plans for the Garrison Hill entrance. Copyright of Scott & Company Architects.

The Hampshire-based property developer has applied for planning permission to demolish and rebuild some of the existing Tregarthen’s Hotel buildings, construct new self catering accommodation lodges and add two turreted cottages either side of the current entrance.

There would also be an arch between those buildings, over the walkway leading to the original 1848 hotel.

The project will be phased over 5 years, although Nigel says cosmetic interior changes to the lounge area don’t require Council consent and could start this autumn.

The rest of the work would take place over successive winters because Nigel says he doesn’t want guests and locals to experience “Spanish resort construction.”

Some of the plans have already changed following consultation.

Nigel had originally intended to knock-through some of the hotel bedrooms to create larger spaces but his staff have convinced him that keeping different sized rooms offers more choice and a variety in rates.

When the work is complete around 30 hotel rooms will remain. These will be supplemented by self-catering cottages clustered alongside the hill leading to the Garrison, in the centre of the hotel site and also adjacent to the Mermaid car park.

The 10 units will be mainly 2-storey and will offer between 1 and 3 bedrooms.

They’ll be built in 2017 or 2018 and Nigel hopes councillors will approve the self-catering plans because this will benefit more businesses on St Mary’s.

He says visitors in this type of accommodation will help spread money down into the local economy far more than those staying in the hotel on all-inclusive packages.

And the overall plan will boost employment. Nigel says the hotel’s staff is expected to grow from the current 25 full and part-time workers to 48 employees.

He says part of that will be a result of raising the level of service, which requires more waiting and bar staff.

Adding self-catering units could stretch the opening season by up to four weeks at either end and Nigel says that means it could then become more economic to stay open year-round.

He’s intending a public display of the plans, so residents and visitors can give their opinion.

The application is expected to go before the Council on 13th October but if it is rejected, Nigel says he’ll consult with staff, amend the proposals and apply for consent again.



8 Responses to Ambitious £5m Plan Announced For Scilly’s Oldest Hotel

  1. Kate Stephens August 17, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    The plans seem to cram in as much accommodation as possible and, in my opinion, are very unattractive. As Anita says there are consequences for people and business near to the development and the strain on water and sewerage will be great. Nothing against Tregarthens being developed but size and suitability need to be taken into account. Remember the absentee developers want to make money not to enhance Scilly as such.

  2. meme August 15, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Ian T – the Co-op has had many opportunities to invest in the future but after many contacts by locals with head office, they still refer to it as a “Corner Shop” and nothing achieved, so I doubt if there will be any changes. It used to have a butchery department, which no doubt which you will remember, also a department upstairs, both removed long ago, and Steve is not intending to trade for very long although everyone is delighted that he is to reopen his store. So much for negativity !!!

  3. Adam Morton, St.Martins August 14, 2015 at 11:31 am

    There’s always been a lot of talk about this so called “up market” and whilst the investment shows commitment and is commendable, the fact remains that without substantial transport link improvements, such schemes will never reach their potential! I hear rumors that much of an up market holiday estate is closing this winter and of another upmarket hotel that was letting out rooms at £50 a night in July! IP and the SSco might be telling us one thing but actions speak louder! Whether its to push for funding or put up local investment,encourage existing providers or create an alternative , the bigger players need to put their weight behind improving links to get any meaningful results (imo).

  4. Robert Green August 13, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Congratulations to the new owners of Tregarthens. The investment in St Mary’s is very much needed. I look forward to seeing this scheme develop.

  5. meme August 13, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Oh dear, why do I hear alarm bells ringing, quite worrying, yet more self catering and only one major store for provisions, not that this is the only problem; me thinks there will be many many more. Let us hope the Council’s Planning Committee Members will be alert on this one,

    • Ian T. August 14, 2015 at 9:35 am

      That’s a bit negative, ‘meme’. Obviously here is an opportunity for traders, especially the Co-op, to invest for the future. Maybe Steve Griffin must have had an intuition about this development.

  6. Anita Bedford August 13, 2015 at 11:53 am

    The pictures of the proposals for Tregathen’s Hotel all look very tempting and pretty. They are drawings, they are not in context of the surrounding area and they lack essential detail like measurements etc. You need to take a recent photo of Tregarthens and measure a structure which is not being altered and measure this against the proposals- it is shocking. I reiterate- I am not opposed to sensitive development at the north-west end of the Tregarthen’s site, providing it is in keeping with out historical and cultural heritage (Garrison and quay walls, and the surrounding granite buildings). We all want a better experience for our visitors, including the owners of No3 Garrison Hill who are slowly but surely restoring the inside of this important listed building , with an aim to provide bed ad breakfast for 3 guests. I have not asked to extend at the back of No 3 Garrison Hill up-wards and out-wards.( the views would be fantastic). If i did i could make lots more money- I do however, respect the privacy and views of my neighbors- Mrs Guy and Mr and Mrs Bowden. Anita Bedford

  7. Anita Bedford August 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Proposed development of Tregarthen’s Hotel: I am not anti development on Scilly – I would support the site of the old school being used for accommodation for local need- whether they are people coming here to work and support the community or born here, We need long term good permanent housing.
    I am not against some redevelopment of the Tregarthen’s hotel site- the north-west end would benefit from some sensitive development, which is in keeping with the original granite cottages, Garrison wall and battery and the quay wall. . Why is there the need to build two 20 foot Disney like towers, or as someone else said, concentration towers, bang smack in the middle of an iconic and sensitive historical and area of out-standing natural beauty. There is no need, to take the light away from NO 3 Garrison Hill and the adjacent properties or change the recognized iconic view down from Garrison Hill. A view enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. It is not for the owner of Tregarthen’s hotel to destroy this area- we are only custodians of our environment. Yes, I have an interest in not having the view taken away from No 3 Garrison Hill. The owner of Tregarthens Hotel has an uninterrupted view at the front to Samson, Bryher and Tresco- what gives him the right to take my limited view away from me. How would be respond if someone drew up plans to build two buildings right in front of Tregarthen’s hotel so blocking his light and view- I can’t see him smiling and saying ‘it is for the benefit of the community’.
    And my answer to those who have informed me the twin towers won’t be that big- my answer is take a look at the plans- take a ruler and measure the granite entrance posts and then measure the proposed height and size of the two structures- now tell me how big you make them. Anita.