16, 2015 Long-awaited
revamp of Highbridge Hotel 'will finish by March 2017'
is set to finally begin on the long-awaited revamp of the Highbridge
Hotel within two months, with the project set to be completed
by March 2017, the boss of Somerset YMCA has told town councillors
The overhaul of the eyesore has seen an eight month delay this
year, but work is set to begin by the end of November to transform
the property into a modern premises with 22 affordable flats for
young people plus community sports facilities.
Somerset Chief Executive Martin Hodgson, pictured, told
town councillors at their meeting this week: "The delays
have been really unfortunate - we were hoping by now to be further
progressed but for several reasons have not been able to."
YMCA has been working really hard to make sure the project gets
off on the right foot. This is a legacy project for Burnham and
Highbridge and we wanted to ensure the project is able to complete
in the best way possible."
went on to explain that the building had previously been "deemed
unsafe for people to access".
main issue we had was if we took the scaffolding down was the
building going to fall that was left there, and which way would
it fall - onto the road, back onto the Bovis and Knightstone site,
on itself, or whether it would fall at all?"
the work we had initially done was to identify whether it was
structurally sound as a building. Unfortunately, what came back
was a completely inconclusive report in which no structural surveyor
was able to say to us that is was safe to take the scaffolding
said that the YMCA has held extensive discussions with key stakeholders,
including Sedgemoor District Council and English Heritage, to
progress the project while preserving key elements of the Grade-2
are now in a position over the next two months to access the site
and, with agreement from Sedgemoor District Council and English
Heritage, to hand pick the facade of the building down using manual
labour to bring it down to ground level in order to essentially
refurbish that front element."
works that we are going to be doing have created delay, but in
the long term we are going to get a building with a facade that
is so impressive as a gateway for the town using the originally-used
process we are anticipating to start in two months time but we
will also take the time. There are budgetary implications which
the YMCA and Sedgemoor and other parties are talking about at
the moment. They are not showstoppers, they are not going to stop
what is going on, because we have come this far and we genuinely
believe in the work we've done in Highbridge. And the conversations
we've had are that people are very proud of that location."
added that the revamped building will become a "great asset
to Highbridge", adding that the delay of eight months so
far as part of "a legacy project over about 25 years almost
becomes inconsequential to the whole thing."
told councillors that the project will finish by March 2017.