The long-awaited redevelopment of the Highbridge Hotel site is finally set to begin in February, along with a new community sports facility, the owners have announced this week after submitting a fresh planning application.
YMCA Somerset Coast, the owner of the site since 2014, is submitting a new application to develop the site, with a commitment to rebuild the façade in the style of the former hotel prior to a huge fire in 2008.
Martin Hodgson, Chief Executive of the YMCA, pictured, outlined the new proposals during a Town Council meeting on Monday evening (October 30th).
He said that plans for an outdoor MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) have been scrapped in favour of “a larger multi-use sports and events hall that will be better suited to a residential area and more beneficial to the community.”
Mr Hodgson admitted that “the plans have taken an incredible length of time to come to fruition.” He explained that the remains of the hotel building had been rendered unsafe during the removal of scaffolding. Now, though, the project is ready to move forward, he told councillors.
It will be a building with 22 units of affordable supported housing for young people aged 16-25.
Cllr Andy Brewer asked whether the YMCA is “totally committed to the project – there has been a lot of talk locally that you don’t have the funds to complete the project.”
Mr Hodgson responded: “We do have the necessary funds – they are all secured and we will be going out to tender shortly to complete the work.”
Cllr John Parkes added: “This project has been a bigger conundrum that watching an Agatha Christie with its twists and turns.”
He asked when the work would begin, to which Mr Hodgson responded that YMCA team will “be on site in February.”
The YMCA boss addressing councillors at last night’s meeting in Burnham
How the development site currently looks ahead of the project restarting