reactions to £11m scheme to redevelop Highbridge Hotel site
of Highbridge residents attended a public open day on Thursday
(April 4th) where plans to regenerate the fire-ravaged Highbridge
Hotel site went on display for the first time.
spoke to some of those who attended to get their views on the
resident Matt Cole, right, who lives opposite the hotel
site, said: "We have been waiting for this dump to be sorted
for so many years so are delighted that the plans have now been
put forward. It seems a good layout with decent houses and adequate
parking. We'd like the development to go ahead as soon as possible
to improve this prominent entrance to Highbridge."
resident Michelle Thorogood said: "I feel there are
already too many social housing facilities in the town and this
development will simply add to them. The owner has had five years
to get his act together and put in a place a modern scheme with
a new hotel and accommodation. Instead, we've simply got a new
housing estate. I think it's sad that when Highbridge is a dying
town, so much more could have been done here to help transform
resident Jill Rigby, right, said: "I am disappointed
that there appear to be no houses for the private market - only
social housing. It's also a shame that more flats are planned
- something that Highbridge does not need. The plans for the hotel
itself look good, but we would like to see more facilities for
use by the general public."
local resident, Mike Sanders, said: "It's actually
a huge relief for many in Highbridge that these plans have finally
been been put forward. I just hope the councillors now stand well
back and don't jeopardise this chance to develop the site. We
don't want the developer to be given an excuse to leave this eyesore
in its current state for another five years."
Shepherd, right, added: "Something has been needed to
improve the former hotel site for many years. The plans seem to
be shaping up well and promise the town some benefit. I hope that
people continue to be involved in the proposals as they evolve.
This event has provided a great opportunity for residents to come
forward and have their say and I hope the consultation continues."
Residents Association's Tina Gray added: "It's good
to see some plans put forward and some movement here after so
many years, but without substantial infrastructure improvements
for the town I question whether Highbridge can support more development.
We need extra doctors surgeries, schools, recreation facilities
plus drainage and sewer systems to support the growing population.
The offer of a community games room in the hotel is a laugh."
and Highbridge MP Tessa Munt also visited the consultation
event and said: "I am very pleased to see some development
going ahead here after so long. I have a few concerns about the
limited amount of parking in the area and I'd also like the numbers
and type of new houses in Highbridge to be more fully investigated.
Several people have expressed to me that they would like to see
the children's play area moved inside the development site itself
rather than just outside. That said, I welcome the refurbishment
of the hotel and hope that some changes can go ahead ."
councillor John Woodman said: "I am pleased that some
firm plans have been put forward after so long, but I would have
liked to see a franchise food chain on the site, bringing new
jobs to the town. I also question whether more social housing
is really needed here or whether better properties could be built.
It's good to see something happening with the hotel, but this
would not be my first choice of a scheme."
James Heappey, the Conservatives' prospective parliamentary
candidate for Burnham and Highbridge, said: "It's good to
see some sympathetic plans for the hotel itself that preserve
its architecture. Local people seem to be mostly positive about
the proposals. I am really encouraged by the response of the community
- it's great to see people getting involved in the consultation
and having their say."