‘Legoland design’ for derelict hotel site labelled ‘hideous’ by councillors

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:30 03 May 2018

The sports hall design at the former Highbridge Hotel.

The sports hall design at the former Highbridge Hotel.


Plans to turn a derelict hotel into affordable housing have been supported by town councillors, despite concerns over its ‘hideous’ design.

The hotel was badly damaged by a fire in 2008.The hotel was badly damaged by a fire in 2008.

Burnham and Highbridge town councillors voted to support YMCA Somerset Coast’s application to build 23 homes for 16 to 25-year-olds, public access meeting rooms, a café and a community sports hall on the former Highbridge Hotel site, in Huntspill Road.

The grade-II listed building has remained untouched and derelict since it was hit by a devastating fire in 2008.

But councillors have hit back at the application, which the developers’ changed since its original submission in November 2017.

Councillors voted to support the development in principle but they objected to the colour scheme, saying ‘it would be detrimental to the visual amenity of the surrounding area’.

Outlines now show the sports hall with a multi-coloured blocked exterior which one councillor described as looking like ‘something out of Legoland’.

Cllr Nick Tolley said: “The front of the building looks great but the sports hall at the rear is hideous, it looks like something out of Legoland.

“Visually, these plans are significantly different to the ones we saw last year.

“It is a garish look and one we cannot have in the centre of Highbridge.”

Cllr Louise Parkin said: “If we allowed a building like this in Highbridge we would open the floodgates for other people to build more monstrosities.

“Having a building like this in a central area is simply hideous.

“There must be a compromise because this is inappropriate and not sympathetic to the surroundings.”

Cllr Andy Brewer said the developers’ changes to the sports hall could be seen as a ‘modern and vibrant addition to the community’.

He said: “We need to think about the people who will mainly be using these facilities, they might like a more modern look.

“If it gets youngsters actively using the facilities then this is only positive for the town.

“But this is a significant change from the plain colours we have seen on previous plans.”

The final decision rests with planning officers at Sedgemoor District Council. Public comments about the application can be submitted through its website.

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