Published: June 3, 2012
District Council defends its silence over Highbridge Hotel discussions

Sedgemoor District Council has this week defended its decision not to make any comments on the future of the fire-ravaged Highbridge Hotel despite the owner speaking out about his plans for the site.

It comes after hotel owner Derek Mead told here about proposals for 60 new homes, shops and a youth hostel for the site.

This week, Sedgemooor District Council's Claire Faun told "With the Highbridge Hotel an acknowledged major eyesore in the centre of the town since the devastating fire in 2008 the owners of the site, their architects and advisors together with the District and Town Councils have been investigating different ideas of how the building and the wider site may be used in the future. With elements of the Grade II-listed building still standing, the challenge to secure a viable and achievable solution is immense."

"There have been many meetings with interested parties and the owners over the years as to the redevelopment of the whole ex-market site and re-use of the former hotel badly damaged by fire. As with all schemes of this nature, some ideas that are presented are not feasible, practical or affordable."

"A group comprising of councillors from Sedgemoor District Council and Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Town Council together with council officers, landowners and other potential partners have met over recent months to discuss and develop some imaginative ideas linking into current proposed initiatives in the town which could act as a catalyst for the site and for Highbridge in a wider sense."

"As with any potential development, there are confidential discussions between developers; owners and other parties during the early and delicate stages of negotiation. Should the owners/developers wish to comment publicly on their proposals; that is their prerogative."

"As Sedgemoor District Council is the planning authority to which any planning application will be submitted, it cannot comment on any potential uses until a planning application is received, where it will go through all the normal consultation processes. SDC can only comment on a submitted application; the Council will not give informal views as to any information or rumour that is publicly available."

"If, and when, a planning application is received, then Sedgemoor District Council will assess the scheme as put forward on its own merits and details at that time, within the SDC policy framework."

"All planning applicants are encouraged however to engage in proper consultation with the local community and Town Council to gain support for the principles of their proposals prior to submitting any application to the District Council."

Pictured: The hotel this week and, above, the fire at the property in 2008


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