June 12, 2014
Highbridge Hotel owner 'optimistic' for long-awaited redevelopment

The long-awaited redevelopment of the eyesore Highbridge Hotel site has finally moved a step closer following a huge cash injection, it has emerged this week.

Derek Mead, pictured, the businessman who owns the Highbridge Hotel site, told he is "optimistic" that work will soon start on the much-needed overhaul following a major cash injection. understands that the YMCA has been successful in securing substantial funding totalling £1.1m from the government's Homes and Community Agency towards the redevelopment of the fire-ravaged site.

Mr Mead said: "The project is moving forward and it looks very promising," he said. "I'm unable to say when the work will begin until a final agreement is in place with Sedgemoor District Council and the YMCA, our two partners, but the puzzle pieces are coming together at last."

Alison Griffin, Corporate Director at Sedgemoor District Council, said: "I'm optimistic that work to redevelop the hotel will start next year - final talks are underway to secure all the elements of the funding."

The fire-damaged hotel building looks set to be redeveloped into 2 studio flats, 5 4-bed flats plus new accommodation for the YMCA with a public access multi-use games area and cafe.

Tina Gray of Highbridge Residents Association said: "It is so frustrating for residents in the town to see the talks over the hotel continuing - we just want it all to be completed."

"I, and many others in Highbridge, want to see a proper full redevelopment of the hotel site - not just a tarting up of the same building. Sadly, the town is known for the hotel because it's so visible and it lets us down even though so many positive things happen here. I'd be happy to see the whole building pulled down and removed as soon as possible."

The Highbridge Hotel has been derelict for over six year since a huge blaze destroyed much of it in April 2008, pictured right, 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 and is on track to finish later this year. 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 the new homes.


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