Highbridge Hotel plans dubbed a
'Lego Land monstrosity'
plans for a new sports hall on part of the former Highbridge Hotel
site that were branded by local councillors as a "Lego Land
monstrosity" have been approved this week.
scheme has been granted the go-ahead by Sedgemoor District Council
despite concerns from residents and Town Councillors over the colour
scheme, which Burnham-On-Sea.com first
reported on here.
Town Councillors voted to object against the revised plans, the
final decision rested with Sedgemoor District Council - and it has
now given consent.
district council has added a planning condition "in the interests
of visual amenity". It states that "Prior to the commencement
of construction works on the building, a detailed schedule of all
external finishes shall be submitted to and approved in writing
by the Local Planning Authority. The external finishes shall be
carried out in strict accordance with the approved schedule."
council has also recently approved
plans to develop the old hotel site, which will include 23 flats
plus a cafe, public meeting rooms, and a new sports hall.
owner, YMCA Somerset Coast, intends to rebuild the front of the
building in the style of the original building prior to the huge
Highbridge Hotel fire in 2008, the sports hall will be decorated
with large colour blocks that several local councillors likened
to Lego blocks.
councillors spoke out against the colour scheme at their latest
Louise Parkin said: "If we allow a monstrosity like this to
go ahead, we'd be opening the floodgates to others - it truly is
hideous. It would be a horrible building for the centre of Highbridge."
Nick Tolley said: "The proposed front of the building looks
great but the sports hall just doesn't fit in at all - it looks
like something you'd find in Lego Land."
Andy Brewer responded: "The front of the building will have
a facade similar to the old hotel, but the adjoining sports hall
would be colourful. Some might call it modern looking or vibrant."
Peter Clayton said: "You have got to think about its use by
young people who might like a modern look."
councillors also heard that Highbridge Chamber of Trade has aired
its concerns about the "unsympathetic" appearance of the
modern new sports hall adjoining a listed building.
YMCA told Burnham-On-Sea.com it wants the new building to be "an
impressive gateway to Highbridge once again."
historians say the hotel was founded in the late 18th century and
it has been a landmark at the entry to the town for years, as pictured
the Cattle Market closed in 2007 the Highbridge Hotel was secured
to prevent trespass and authorised entry, however the building was
subject to two acts of arson and was gutted by fire in 2008.
structure of the building was destroyed to such an extent that substantial
fire clearance works were required to make the buildings safe. Work
to clear the building was agreed with Sedgemoor District Council.
part of the fire clearance works and in agreement with the Conservation
Officer and English Heritage, work was undertaken to support the
main building facade to ensure its main feature was protected.
internal features within the site remain and the only element of
the building considered to be of merit by the YMCA and worth retaining
are the remains of the fire damaged southern facade.
this in mind the scheme proposals have sought to rebuild the main
southern facade as an integral part of a contemporary design that
provides community and residential accommodation of a modern and
appropriate quality to ensure the memory and heritage of the former
Highbridge Hotel is remembered and still influences the character
of the area well into the 21st century," it says.