Highbridge Hotel hit by fresh delay amid cost and safety concerns

The hotel was badly damaged by a fire in 2008.

The hotel was badly damaged by a fire in 2008. - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a community hub on the site of a derelict hotel in Highbridge have been dealt yet another blow, with the project not set to be completed until December 2018.

The grade II-listed Highbridge Hotel, in Huntspill Road, has remained untouched and derelict since it was hit by a devastating fire in 2008.

But the building looked set for a new lease of life when youth charity YMCA bought the building in 2014, before it was awarded planning permission to create a community hub, including sports facilities and 22 affordable flats for young people.

Work began on the project in early 2016 after a series of delays relating to concerns about the structure’s safety, with an initial completion date set for March this year.

But investigations carried out with Historic England into the remaining parts of the hotel’s exterior and foundations, which were planned to be used as part of any rebuild, showed them to be unsafe and expensive to retain.

The charity has now applied to Sedgemoor District Council for listed building consent to demolish them, meaning the project is unlikely to be completed for another 18 months.

Georgina Jones, YMCA Somerset Coast Sedgemoor director, said: “It has taken a long time to get to this point; however it is important that we approach the project in detail and with sensitivity.

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“The team and I are excited and very much looking forward to working further in the community of Highbridge.

“We are sure the hotel will be an excellent resource for everybody.”

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The YMCA insists it will rebuild the new building’s façade in the same style as the hotel, as agreed in the original planning application, and revealed any bricks removed by hand will be used in the new development.

The charity is now undertaking a tendering process to find a contractor for the work and is expected to make its decision by September, with work getting underway on site shortly after.

The hotel was originally built in the late 18th century.

For more details of the project, email info@ymca-sc.org

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