December 19, 2014
Deal is signed to start long-awaited £1.8m overhaul of Highbridge Hotel

A contract is being signed today (Friday) that will finally allow the start of the long-awaited redevelopment of the eyesore Highbridge Hotel site.

Martin Hodgson, the Chief Executive of the YMCA in Somerset, right, told "The final legal agreement for the redevelopment is being completed this week after a lengthy procurement process."

"We've had a closely-run competition to find a contractor to develop the site and I'm delighted that we have now selected one and we'll now be able to rest over the Christmas period knowing that we can start the project in earnest in the new year."

He added: "It has been a long process. I had hoped we'd be further forward by now, but this is a high profile scheme and I wanted to do it right and spend a little extra time on the due diligence."

Asked for the timescales of the project, he said: "The redevelopment of the site will be completed by April 2016."

The fire-damaged hotel building will be redeveloped into a modern building, as pictured here, with 2 studio flats, 5 4-bed flats and new accommodation for the YMCA with public access community sports facilities and a cafe.

Earlier this year, we revealed that the YMCA had been successful in securing £1.1m of funding from the government's Homes and Community Agency towards the overall £1.8m cost of redeveloping the fire-ravaged site.

The Highbridge Hotel has been derelict for over six year since a huge blaze destroyed much of it in April 2008 followed by several other smaller blazes. Negotiations about its future have been ongoing ever since.

Meanwhile, construction of 59 new homes on the old cattle market site next to the hotel is continuing. Sedgemoor District Council gave a grant worth £1,481,000 from its New Homes Bonus Fund to Knightstone Housing Association to enable the construction of those homes, which are due to be completed in 2015.


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