Bethan Evans, Reporter
Friday, July 13, 2012
THE owner of one of Highbridge’s most iconic sites has revealed to the Mercury that plans are being drawn up to turn it into flats and a community facility run by the YMCA.
After being hit by two fires in the past four years, Highbridge Hotel has been reduced to a crumbling burnt-out shell.
A community meeting was held last year to discuss what the town’s residents would like to see on the site – which excluded flats – and showed many people believed commercial buildings would benefit the town.
But now owner and businessman Derek Mead has revealed what may actually be in store for the hotel.
He said: “I have had a few meeting with architects and Sedgemoor District Council and the way out, we feel, is to turn it into a community facility run by the YMCA.
“We are now building up a plan for it and the hotel site will include four or five flats and there could be three to four shops there as well.
“And it could include YMCA accommodation within the hotel, but at the moment they have not got funding.”
Mr Mead said he is very proud to be part of the project and has added the derelict building will not be turned into a market site.
He said: “We want to utilise the old Highbridge Hotel and this is what has always been decided by the community. The architects, local councillors and the town council have been discussing all of this. But there is definitely not going to be a market.
“They have got to come up with some idea to get the kids off the streets and get the community rolling. I just want to get something there and get it off the ground and move it on.
“We want to get the planning application in as soon as possible, within the next two months. Up until then we are still having discussions and are in consultation with the YMCA.”
Martin Hodgson, chief executive for the Weston and Bridgwater YMCA, said: “We have had a couple of conversations with Sedgemoor and we have shared a couple of models we have previously used.
“One of these was used in Weston which we have just received planning permission for, and was for creating a community facility with some accommodation linked to it.”