councillors vote in favour of £11m Highbridge Hotel overhaul
councillors last night (Wednesday) gave a cautious approval to
multi-million pound plans to regenerate the fire-ravaged former
Highbridge Hotel site.
of the Town Council's Planning Applications Committee were split
on whether to approve the scheme, with four voting in favour and
first reported here
last month that hotel owner Derek Mead wants to build 59 residential
dwellings on the old cattle market site to include 23 three-bedroom
homes, 31 two-bedroom homes and 5 two-bedroom flats.
fire-damaged hotel building itself would be redeveloped into 2
studio flats, 5 4-bed flats plus new accommodation for the YMCA
with a public games area and cafe.
councillors gave mixed opinions on the scheme when they met on
Wednesday evening (April 10th).
Martin Cox voted in favour of the scheme, saying: "People
have been saying for many years that this is an eyesore that badly
needs tidying up. It's not every day that a multi-million pound
plan comes forward for Highbridge. To stand in the way of this
happening would be crazy. I am in favour, providing there is a
substantial 106 agreement providing new infrastructure for the
Pauline Pollard, who voted in favour of the scheme, said: "I
have no strong feelings, but don't want the hotel to stay as it
is, so I am in favour."
Helen Groves voted against the plans, saying: "The current
proposals will fix the cosmetic problems but fail to address the
future needs of the town. The scheme may not address local housing
needs as the evidence base is drawn from Sedgemoor-wide information
and, further, it may not be possible to implement the restrictions
of housing allocation suggested. As such there may be a greater
demand upon infrastructure required to support this development
than suggested within the proposal. The evidence base for the
YMCA hostel does not appear to be based upon a local demand and
I would like to see evidence of a housing needs study for the
residents are telling me that any new development here is good,
but others are taking a pragmatic view, keeping an eye on the
future and saying we should not approve this scheme at this time."
Pat Burge voted in favour of the scheme and explained: "Whilst
I am in favour of the project, I don't like the modern appearance
of the hotel building which I feel is out of keeping with the
old building. However, I have spoken to many residents who have
told me they are pleased to see any progress here so I am voting
Alan Miller also voted in favour and said: "I have been involved
in all the meetings regarding the hotel site and think it is a
good thing for the town after many years of discussions."
Cllr Bill Hancock disagreed, voting against the scheme, and saying:
"The site has far more potential than just more houses and
flats. We need a scheme that will help the centre of Highbridge.
I am also concerned that the hotel itself should be re-developed
before the new houses beind to avoid any possibility of the YMCA
funding drying up and the hotel being left to decay for another
Town Council's decision will be considered by Sedgemoor District
Council planners when they meet over the next few weeks to assess
whether a final decision can be made.
Hotel has been derelict since a huge
blaze occurred in April 2008 and negotiations about its future
have been ongoing ever since.
the new Highbridge housing development will look if it's approved
give mixed opinions on the new Highbridge Hotel scheme