Developer says it is not economically viable to meet Environment Agency’s demands to prevent flood of ‘Biblical proportions’.

The developer behind the former Tantons Hotel in Bideford has reached a stalemate with the Environment Agency (EA).

Developer Adam Walker is in the process of putting in new plans for the derelict waterside site, but said the EA is asking him to prepare for 'unrealistic' flooding.

Mr Walker received planning permission to turn the hotel into town houses and flats last year, but is now putting in amended plans to change parts of the scheme, such as removing the ground floor parking.

But Mr Walker said the EA is now asking him to raise the floor of the ground floor flat of one of the developments by 1.8 metres - which is physically impossible.

He said: "If you had six feet of flood water in Bideford the entire town would be under-water.

"The idea we have got to gear up for floods of this depth is absolutely nonsensical.

"We have already raised the floor by 1.3 metres but cannot raise it anymore.

"Without this ground floor flat that part of the development is not economically viable."

Mr Walker is currently talking to planning officers at Torridge District Council about his revised applications for the hotel.

He added: "We now have two options: Number one, the building will remain empty and an eyesore forevermore because it is not ecomonically possible without the ground floor flat.

"Or, number two, we take them to appeal and hit them with costs, which I have done successfully many times before."

Plans to amend the town house element of the proposals to remove the ground floor parking will go before Bideford Town Council's planning committee tonight (Wednesday).

Mr Walker said the EA's strict ruling could have implications for the rest of the town too.

He said: "This will cast an economic shadow over development in Bideford for the forseeable future.

"It will blight the entire town because of fears for a flood of Biblical proportion."

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