sale concerns raised at Highbridge Hotel public meeting
The owner of the
Highbridge Hotel was among 50
people who attended a public meeting to discuss the future re-development
of the controversial
site on Wednesday (19th October).
were able to ask owner Derek Mead and representatives from Sedgemoor
District Council and the Town Council about the future options
for the controversial building, which has been derelict since
a massive fire in 2008.
meeting was particularly timely as it came just 48 hours after
A set of development plans originally drawn up in 2008 were on
display at the meeting and showed a new supermarket, shopping
arcade, housing development and a community centre with a 250
seat auditorium are being considered. Mr Mead said the plans had
not been taken forward due to the current financial downturn.
of the meeting was overshadowed by the news that a covenant which
was put in place to prevent development of the hotel site is to
be sold by Sedgemoor District Council.
Town councillor Helen Groves expressed her concern about the
sale. She told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "The covenant applies
to the rear section of the site and states that the land may only
be used for the purpose of operating a livestock market, or for
agricultural purposes or for auctioneers, estate agents and valuers.
SDC have agreed a fee of £150,000 to lift that covenant,
but the revenue generated will not automatically benefit Highbridge."
added: "This concerns me greatly since the public did not
know it existed and if the assets of the town are to be sold then
Highbridge should benefit."This covenant was put in place
many years ago because the importance of this location within
the town was recognised."
Many residents are keen not to see the site replaced with more
flats and there are differing opinions on whether the hotel itself
should be removed altogether, with some wanting sections of the
historical property to be retained.
Derek Mead told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I think it's been a
useful, positive meeting. I've an open mind about what we can
achieve at the site. I think there is definitely scope for a community
facility for use by youth groups."
Joe Leach said: "I think we have moved forward more in the
last six months than in the previous two years. I'm really hopeful
that a potentially good use can be found for the site."
And Doug Bamsey, Corporate Director of Regeneration at Sedgemoor
District Council, added: "There is a real energy and a desire
here to make things better . I am keen to see this momentum continue
for the benefit of Highbridge."
Pictured: Top, Meeting chairman Phil New with Derek Mead and
Doug Bamsey holding a set of plans for the site