Published: April 21, 2010
Two years on, fire-hit Highbridge Hotel remains an eyesore

Residents and councillors have this week stepped up their calls for work to begin on developing the former Highbridge Hotel site - exactly two years after a huge fire swept through the property.

The remains of the once-proud landmark at the entrance to the town remain clad in scaffolding with no immediate sign of renovation work starting, two years after fire crews battled for several hours to bring a huge blaze under control on April 22nd, 2008.

Derek Mead, the owner of the property, said the project to develop the site has been affected by the recession.

He told on Wednesday: "The whole development has been on the backburner due to the state of the economy."

"We never thought it would take this much time, but we need customers and stakeholders for the site before we can start the development work."

"We have had interest from a nursing home provider, a food retailer and have approached a hotel chain but none have followed through."

"We'd still like to turn the building into a modern 14 bedroom hotel with community facilities at one end, but I cannot control the economic conditions."

Highbridge County Councillor John Woodman (pictured top) told "Hopefully with the end of the recession, we will soon see the development going ahead."

"This is a key site for Highbridge and it's a huge shame that the work to overhaul it has been delayed for so long. The sooner it starts, the better is the view of many people in Highbridge."

The huge blaze in April 2008 swept through the building

Fire crews have been called to the hotel twice in recent days


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