Four years after fire, fresh fears are raised on Highbridge Hotel's
four years after a huge fire swept through the Highbridge Hotel
and turned it into a crumbling eyesore, fresh concerns have been
expressed this week about long-overdue proposals to redevelop
Highbridge district councillor Joe Leach, who has been closely
involved in the discussions between Sedgemoor District Council
and owner Mead Realisations, told Burnham-On-Sea.com he is "increasingly
disappointed" about plans being drawn up for the landmark
site, which may see it being turned into new homes.
told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week: "Since the fire, a number
of meetings, both public and private, have taken place with Mead
Realisations, Sedgemoor officers and councillors of varying political
persuasions. While some progress has been made on small matters,
I am increasingly disappointed with the proposals which appear
to be coming forward for this crucial site."
will not accept the view of 'anything is better'. As a central
location, this site is pivotal to the future regeneration of the
town centre. A majority-housing scheme here would be outrageous
I do not believe enough has been done to bring about a development
that is anything other than housing-led. We must listen to the
local people, and understand that the work, retail and amenity
capacity is the top of priorities, and I will fight to ensure
this is the case. I cannot, and will not, accept that housing
is the only option, should that come forward."
Cllr Leach added: "I will not accept the demolition of the
hotel. As part of it is grade 2 listed, this would be very difficult,
and rightly so. However, Highbridge has lost so much already,
and we cannot allow further desecration of the town's heritage
in the name of 'redevelopment'. The hotel can be restored and
used in a very beneficial manner to compliment our town."
believe not a single penny from taxpayers or planning agreements
should be put towards its restoration - it is the sole responsibility
of Mead Realisations to bring it back into a useable condition."
am deeply concerned by the attitude towards this site. Yes, financial
times are not the easiest, but with the same company bringing
forward a £4.6million business plan for the Tropicana in
neighbouring North Somerset, I do not believe it is unreasonable
at all to expect a decent financial input and commitment for this
critical part of Highbridge."
the prospect of a further 3,000+ people moving to the town from
current and future developments, we cannot afford for this site
to go without infrastructure investment including medical, educational,
work and retail space."
said: "As bad as the fire was, we are presented with a prime
opportunity to rebuild the hotel to an excellent standard, ensuring
our town's heritage is maintained, but made to look better than
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.
The hotel in flames four years ago; Cllr Joe Leach outside the
current hotel; and, above, a second fire at the property last