Eyesore hotel redevelopment to start

PUBLISHED: 12:31 13 January 2015

Martin Hodgson, Somerset YMCA CEO, outside the Highbridge Hotel.

Martin Hodgson, Somerset YMCA CEO, outside the Highbridge Hotel.

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A 'FLAGSHIP' project to turn a derelict hotel in Highbridge into a £1.8million YMCA development is finally on its way after contracts were exchanged with the site's builders.

The new development will see the fire-ravaged Highbridge Hotel, in Huntspill Road, transformed into 22 affordable flats for young people, as well as new sports facilities for the community and a YMCA hub.

Work is now set to begin on the project by the end of January, after a series of delays hampered an earlier start.

The charity’s Somerset chief executive, Martin Hodgson, told the Mercury: “We have been able to award contracts for the build to Mi-Space, which is part of Midas, and we are now awaiting our first design team meeting to press on.

“We hope to be getting busy on the site and get things moving within a month.”

The build has been hampered by issues surrounding the grade-two listed building, which has lain derelict since it was largely destroyed by fire, but Mr Hodgson added he was still hopeful of a late-2016 opening.

He said: “We are about another month behind because we did some due diligence because it’s a flagship project, but that’s all gone through now and we are all raring to go.

“September 2016 is when we really want to get in, and we’re already working with community groups to ensure we will be providing initiatives for the area.

“Specifically to Highbridge, it will be a 21st-century community facility and really transform people’s view coming into the town.

“We have been involved for about three years now, and did begin to wonder what was going to happen – it’s a relief to have it over the line.”

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