hits out at lack of consultation over new £1.4m hotel plans
town councillors have this week attacked Sedgemoor District Council
for changing the major redevelopment of the Highbridge Hotel site
without consulting them first.
a meeting last night (Monday), councillors raised concerns that
a £1.4m funding deal - first reported by Burnham-On-Sea.com
last week - will lead
to the construction of 59 new homes on the old cattle market site
but without the much-needed redevelopment of the hotel building
also going ahead.
Executive had agreed to give a grant worth £1,481,000 from
its New Homes Bonus Fund to Knightstone Housing Association to
enable the construction of 59 homes on the cattle market site.
Council has also agreed to enter into a "six year option
agreement" with Derek Mead, the current owner of the Highbridge
Hotel site, which could secure the transfer of the land into the
Council's ownership for a nominal fee of £1.
councillor Bill Hancock said: "It was agreed with Sedgemoor
a long time ago when we first began discussing the hotel's future
that it must re-developed at the same time as the new homes on
the old cattle market site."
we're hearing that Sedgemoor is pushing ahead with the 59 new
homes without the hotel at the same time. I think an ombudsman
should look closer into this deal and see whether it's been mishandled."
Helen Groves, who says she has "serious concerns" about
the future of the hotel, added: "We cannot tell Sedgemoor
what to do with the money, but in terms of planning I am concerned
that this is a significant change to the original plans. There
should have been communication with the Town Council."
said that the development company overseeing the 59 new homes
"has to start building by March 2014 to secure the funding,
but this doesn't warrant by-passing the normal process."
Phil Harvey added: "The scheme has changed considerably from
the one when we were consulted. There is a question whether Sedgemoor
has acted incorrectly in not consulting us as a statutory consultee."
Clerk Denise Emery told councillors at Monday's meeting: "Sedgemoor
has told me that the agreement had been made to go forward with
the development of the site for 59 affordable homes and development
of the hotel with 22 units within it."
are no time constraints on development of the hotel site and Sedgemoor
are still hopeful that the YMCA will be the partners on development
of the building. When I asked what would happen in the worst case
scenario that the YMCA are unable to fund the development of the
hotel and Sedgemoor cannot find any other partners, what would
happen then, I was told that the council has a six year option
to take ownership of the hotel for £1."
Hotel has been derelict since a huge
blaze occurred in April 2008 and several other smaller blazes
and negotiations about its future have been ongoing ever since.