Published: February 14, 2012
Highbridge Hotel art project 'may be first step towards tidying up site'

Councillors in Highbridge have this week expressed hope that an art project which is going ahead to brighten up part of the fire-ravaged Highbridge Hotel may respresent the first step towards tidying up the whole site.

An agreement has been struck with the owner of the site, Mead Realisations, for the wooden hoardings outside the hotel to be decorated with a mural in a bid to give the run-down exterior of the property an overhaul.

Members of Highbridge Dreamscheme will be decorating the wooden hoardings, with the help of HABA (Highbridge and Burnham Artists), with a design called 'The History of Highbridge' after the hotel's owner agreed to fund the cost of the materials required to create the mural.

Cllr Joe Leach told "I am pleased we can look forward to getting on with the job. This is a positive first step towards getting the place tidied up, ahead of a development which is fit for purpose."

"There are always bound to be ups and downs, but ultimately this has come about so far because of community spirit and a will to see something happen. I am proud to be a part of that community, and I hope that we can advance further to get the message across that Highbridge needs and wants something good for this site, and that we do care passionately about our town."

Cllr Helen Groves added: "I was initially very concerned to hear that Sedgemoor District Council and Homes in Sedgemoor had agreed to use funding from a 'community initiatives pledge' to carry out preparation works on the hoardings as this funding was intended to assist communities, rather than private developments. However, I am pleased that after follow-up discussions SDC have decided this would be inappropriate and that Mead will fund these works."

"It is my sincere hope that the meeting SDC have indicated will take place in March will go ahead and Mead Realisations will present the community with a good plan for the site which takes account of the concerns of the community."

She added: "It is positive that in discussions with Mead Realisations they have consistently indicated a desire for a mixed use of the site and seem to have taken onboard the points within the Local Development Framework relating to the requirement for retail alongside any housing of low density."

The former Highbridge Hotel has been derelict since a huge blaze in April 2008. The hoarding was introduced last August in a bid to screen some of the building from motorists entering the town via the A38.


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