June 4, 2015
YMCA reassures council over delays to £1.8m Highbridge Hotel revamp

The YMCA has reassured town councillors this week that it remains 'enthusiastic' about the £1.8million redevelopment of the fire-ravaged Highbridge Hotel site despite delays to the project.

The long-awaited overhaul of the eyesore will see it transformed into a modern premises with 22 affordable flats for young people as well as new community sports facilities.

Members of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council asked the YMCA this week for an update on the status of the project at their meeting.

YMCA Somerset Chief Executive Martin Hodgson, pictured, told the council in a statement: "May I assure the council that there are no contractual problems - there are however practical issues which we were aware of when we took over the site and awarded the contract. These have been factored into the timescale for completion of the build."

"As you will be aware, the building as it is Grade 2 listed needs great care when being worked upon, and importantly in these first stages we need to ensure that we can preserve as much as possible, without placing the workforce engaged in the project at risk."

"It is for this reason we have been in lengthy discussions with various parties including engineers, contractors, plus Sedgemoor District Council Building Control and Planning."

"We are now in a position where we are ready to agree how we approach the build and equally firm timescales for commencement of works and of course the monitoring of the work - this meeting will be taking place at the end of this week."

Mr Hodgson went on to add: "We understand how this delay will be seen by some elements of the community and wish to reassure them that we continue to be enthusiastic about the scheme and keen to complete the scheme so as to ensure that the new Highbridge Hotel becomes an important part of the community again."

Town councillors will be inviting Mr Hodgson to the next full meeting of the council in July to discuss the work further.

The property has been derelict for over seven years since a huge blaze destroyed the Highbridge Hotel in April 2008 followed by several other smaller blazes.


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