Drake's Island developer refuses to withdraw plan
BUSINESSMAN Dan McCauley is pushing ahead with plans to develop a luxury hotel on Drake's Island in the face of opposition from planners.
Members of Plymouth City Council planning committee deferred a decision on the £10million scheme at their meeting earlier this month.
Councillors were told that environmental surveys of the island and surrounding area were missing or incomplete.
Since then planning officers have again tried without success to persuade Mr McCauley's company, Rotolok, to withdraw the scheme.
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Next Thursday's planning meeting will hear that Natural England and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds object to the scheme.
Natural England says there is not enough information about the impacts on Plymouth Sound and Estuaries Special Area of Conservation, Tamar Estuaries Special Protection Area.
The area is important for wildlife, including eel grass beds which are home to the spiny seahorse, a species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).
The council has records of 66 little egrets roosting in trees on Drake's Island. The birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
And there is evidence that protected bats are present on the island, including the lesser horseshoe species.
Planners say the developers Dan McCauley and his son Aidan have not submitted enough information about the bats with their planning application.
Planning officials are also unhappy about the impact on the historic island, which has a number of Grade II listed buildings and is a Scheduled Monument.
Rotolok yesterday declined to comment in advance of the planning committee hearing.
Plans for the island include a 44-bedroom boutique hotel, a bar, restaurant, and a swimming pool and spa.
The complex will also be served by a new jetty and ferry service, and the public will be offered limited access.
Mr McCauley has talked of redeveloping the island ever since buying it in 1995.
Under the plans put together by city architects Lacey Hickie Caley, the Grade II listed Barrack Block would be converted into 25 hotel bedrooms and suites, with another 19 suites in the Casemated Battery at the east end of the island.
Two "Feature Rooms" would be restored to reflect their original historic form and made accessible to the public.
Island House would be converted into a bar and restaurant, with a spa, gym and swimming pool in the Ablution Block.
The three buildings would be linked with a glazed contemporary structure.
Space is also allocated for a conference suite, services rooms, staff support and ancillary facilities.
The existing ammunition store would be demolished and the landing jetty on the north side of the island would be repaired and refurbished.
A modern "arrival building" with a scenic lift would take guests from the jetty to the main hotel at the top of the cliff.
The council is responsible for the listed buildings.