Published: August 29, 2011
Art plans unveiled for new screening outside Highbridge Hotel

A community group is being sought to decorate the new screening that has been installed over the past week at the front of the fire-ravaged Highbridge Hotel.

Following pressure from local residents and councillors, hotel owner Derek Mead has introduced the wooden hoarding to help tidy up the site and screen part of the building from passing motorists.

District councillor Joe Leach told "This is an improvement, but we'd like to see the hoarding decorated to help take the eye away from the building and, hopefully, make the hoarding less prone to vandalism and fly posting."

"Discussions are underway with several local groups to get the screening painted with a local theme."

The comments come after one local holiday park placed a large advertisement banner on the hoarding over the Bank Holiday weekend, raising concerns that it would encourage fly-posting and vandalism.

Cllr Helen Groves added: "I am very pleased to see this small effort has been made to improve the appearance and security of the site and would of course welcome the involvement of community groups to improve the appearance of the hoardings in the short term."

"I would hope in return for such community goodwill that Mr Mead would make a suitable donation to the groups involved and both he and SDC will recognise the importance and urgency of the need for a resolution which is in the interest of Highbridge."

The former Highbridge Hotel has been derelict since a huge blaze in April 2008. The cattle market site at the rear of the building has also not been used since the final market was held there in 2009.

Pictured: Top, how the front of the Highbridge Hotel looks now and, above, how it looked before the work

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