Fire-hit Highbridge Hotel site is not for sale, claims owner
The owner of the Highbridge Hotel and former cattle market has this week rejected reports that the site is up for sale by assuring them that he is only seeking backers to regenerate the site.
Estate agent boards have appeared outside the fire-damaged Grade II-listed hotel building over the past week, as pictured, as estate agents McKinlays of Taunton promote "town centre development opportunities."
No price has been given and the agent says on its website here: "The rest of the site is now cleared and our client is looking for potential uses, subject to planning."
Owner Derek Mead said this week that the move is part of a bid to attract various businesses to sign up to a regeneration project for the site.
In a statement, he said: "The site, not the entire site, was placed up recently not to sell it – but to generate interest from people and businesses to get them onboard to the regeneration scheme. It's to market the site, it's to start the ball rolling, but in the present economic climate it will be hard to find people to move in until things pick up."
The Highbridge Hotel is currently derelict following a huge fire in April 2008.
Mr Mead's website gives further information on the site, stating: "There are plans to redevelop and substantially improve the Highbridge Hotel and one of the town's best known landmarks."
"Derek Mead says he has been encouraged by Highbridge people's support for the regeneration project, given overwhelmingly at a public meeting in the town. It was clear to us that they were extremely keen to see something done to reverse Highbridge's decline."
"This really does represent a one-off chance to put life back into Highbridge and to create an attractive and pleasant shopping centre which, our research suggests, will have the effect of winning back much lost trade for existing businesses."