40 news jobs could be created with major investment planned for country house hotel.

Major investment plans have been lodged for 94 holiday lodges and apartments at Highbullen Hotel, Golf & Country Club.

The mix of apartments, luxury lodges and special tree house retreat lodges for couples would be able to create another 40 jobs on top of the 65 already employed at Highbullen.

The outline planning application is for timber-clad lodges of varying designs scattered across 22 acres, with the full details to be submitted in a future application.

Owner Frank Chapman is seeking to build on the £5million he has already invested into the site, with refurbishment of the main hotel building, the construction of the Palazzo function room and events venue, as well as improving the golf and tennis facilities.

A statement with this latest planning application said it was part of a master plan for the estate, which had begun to come to pass with opening of the Palazzo in November and hosting the Devon Tourism Awards as its first official function.

‘The benefits to the North Devon economy that the proposed development will bring are significant’, said the planning statement.

‘It is anticipated that 40 additional jobs could be created as a result of the overall development, making the hotel a key local employer. ‘In addition to the clear benefits to employment, the investment in the leisure facilities on site will enable local people to have access to good quality amenities without the need to travel long distances’.

It said Mr Chapman had previously undertaken a similar development on the Clowance Estate in West Cornwall, which transformed ‘a previously unviable country house hotel into a successful holiday resort’.