Woolacombe’s new luxury development offers bed to beach in just 4 minutes


A breath-taking sight awaits as you emerge round the bend leading down to the North Devon coastal village of Woolacombe.  Bright, shimmering sea striped with frothy waves and edged by an inviting sandy three mile beach creates a view not easily forgotten and amply justifies Woolacombe’s inclusion in the UK’s top 10 beaches.*

In 2008, after many years of idyllic family summers spent on this unspoilt and naturally beautiful stretch of coast, Robert and Sheila Sawyer discovered a local hotel for sale and were excited by its possibilities. The Narracott Grand Hotel had been an iconic destination for surfers and families in the 1960s and 70s but had been in terminal decline for years. Instantly recognising its potential to create a new destination for a UK holiday, Robert and Sheila joined with five other directors to form Blast Properties Ltd and purchased the hotel.

However, the financial crisis put their ambitions on hold until the economy strengthened in 2016. They also saw opportunity presented by Brexit, anticipating that British buyers would take more staycations and make savvy holiday home investments.

Now complete, the property development is known as Byron and offers 57 open market residential apartments. The level of luxury on offer aims to alter the perception of Woolacombe and challenge some of the more glamorous beach resorts further down the coast.  And, it appears to be succeeding; a recent article in the Telegraph featuring Byron, referred to Woolacombe as “The old-fashioned Devon seaside spot that could soon rival Rock”.

How FOLK2FOLK helped

Byron is one of the largest investments in any North Devon coastal community and an example of one of FOLK2FOLK’s largest single peer to peer loan investments to date.

In 2019, with the majority of the build complete and almost half the apartments sold, the directors of Blast Properties had met the conditions of their original funders and began looking to consolidate their loans and refinance on better terms for the sales phase.  FOLK2FOLK was chosen after Blast Properties approached a number of lenders via their broker.

“The offers that were eventually tabled were in no way comparable to FOLK2FOLK’s offer,” explained Robert, “An additional benefit was a shared sense of purpose to regenerate economic activity in a small community in North Devon.”

“FOLK2FOLK’s process was also quicker and more straightforward.  We really appreciated the direct contact with senior management, making decisions on minor or major points only a phone call away.”
– Robert Sawyer, director Blast Properties Ltd

The business

Ranging from one to four bedrooms, Byron’s apartments have exclusive use of the development’s luxurious facilities which include a wellness spa, gym, indoor pool, sauna, games room and parking. Brundles, a new restaurant on the site is run by Devon-born Graham Brundle, the former personal chef to Richard Branson on the entrepreneur’s Necker Island resort in the British Virgin Islands. Brundles is open to the public but offers exclusive benefits to owners and their holiday rental guests. It’s easy to see why Robert says “owning an apartment at Byron is like having a hotel in your home”.

Robert and Sheila explain that owning a holiday home at Byron provides a great location for holidays with friends and family while also offering owners a lucrative source of additional income.  The apartments have been designed with this in mind and are unrestricted by any holiday occupation clause.  In addition, Byron’s letting service offers a hands-off service that enables owners to enjoy rental profit without the hassle of dealing with an off-site agency.

Robert explains there are also tax benefits for this type of property investment: “What many people don’t realise is that recent tax changes to buy to let taxation are making furnished holiday rental property more profitable than buy to let property.

“Apartments at Byron can be classified as a Furnished Holiday Let (FHL) which brings benefits of capital allowances and other tax benefits compared to Buy to Let. This is because Furnished Holiday Letting is treated as a business, whereas Buy to Let is treated as an investment in property.  Based on the purchase price alone FHL properties at Byron offer tax free profits for up to five years.”
– Robert Sawyer, director Blast Properties Ltd


By developing the former Narracott Grand Hotel which had been in decline for years, Byron has made a significant economic impact to the local area.

“Approximately 46 full time roles have been created at Brundles Bar and Restaurant and five new jobs at Byron for staff to provide services to owners and their guests. We estimate the annual gross value added to the Northern Devon economy is approximately £1.48m per year. “
– Robert Sawyer, director Blast Properties Ltd

In addition, local tradesmen and businesses were used in the build and local suppliers are used by Brundles restaurant, except for very technical consultants who had to be imported from elsewhere in the South West. The attraction of the development has the potential to draw an increased number of diners, visitors and tourists to Woolacombe and its local businesses.

For more information about borrowing or lending via FOLK2FOLK
Visit: www.folk2folk.com  Call: 0333 455 1902

For information on properties to purchase at Byron, please contact Byron direct on:
Call: 01271 871 643  Email: sales@byronwoolacombe.co.uk
Visit: www.byronwoolacombe.co.uk.

*Top 10 beaches – United Kingdom and Channel Islands, Trip Advisor

Share this: