Hotel demolition plans delayed 'until autumn 2020'
PUBLISHED: 15:38 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:38 05 November 2019
Plans to knock down a derelict hotel to make way for a hydro-electric power system have been delayed by a year.
Cox's Mill, in Cheddar, has been closed for the best part of a decade and a redevelopment scheme was due to commence in the autumn.
But Longleat Estates, which owns the Cheddar Gorge site, says complications with the demolition process means activity will not begin on site this year.
Its spokesman said: "Due to the complexity of dismantling the building at Cox's Mill, as a result of its proximity to the watercourse and reservoir, as well as ecological sensitivities during the latter months of the year, it has been decided to postpone this work until 2020."
The plans to revamp the site were showcased to villagers in the summer.
Simon Townsend, Cheddar Gorge and Caves' operations manager, said the hotel is 'beyond economical repair' and demolition is the only answer.
He also described it as 'eyesore' and was becoming increasingly unsafe.
But Longleat's discussions with key stakeholders, including Bristol Water and the Environmental Agency, have seen the plans be pushed back by 12 months.
The company spokesman said: "While this unfortunate delay has had a slight effect on the planning process, Longleat Enterprises plans to proceed with the next available opportunity for major works to be carried out.
"The estate, along with all stakeholders, is committed to this project, which will see the building removed and the area re-developed.
"However we are all in agreement that any work undertaken must not be at the expense of the natural environment, which includes the important water source and local bat populations.
"The temporary delay will allow more time for further consultation and also provide additional scope to plan and prepare for the demolition process in order to minimise any disruption.
"The next available opportunity for major works to be carried out without adversely affecting the environment, local community and visitors to the gorge is autumn 2020."