The long-awaited redevelopment of the Highbridge Hotel site is finally set to begin later this year, the owners have announced this week after submitting a brand new planning application.
YMCA Somerset Coast, the owner of the site since 2014, has submitted an application to demolish the remaining elements of the building, with a ‘firm commitment’ to rebuild the façade in the style of the hotel prior to a huge fire in 2008.
The YMCA told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week it wants the new building to be “an impressive gateway to Highbridge once again.”
The YMCA wants to create ‘an innovative community hub alongside 22 units of affordable supported housing’ at the site in a modern building, as pictured above.
A YMCA spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Having removed the scaffold and replaced with new, it became very clear that the shell of the building was too unsafe to remain and presented a significant risk of collapse, thus preventing any further investigation into the structure.”
“As a result of this, and with advice from Sedgemoor District Council, the rear elevation and the front first-floor elevations were dismantled by hand, with the bricks conserved, cleaned and stored on site.”
“This then allowed a further investigation into the foundations for the building and the methods of construction in the remaining façade.”
“These investigations uncovered little or no footings in parts, and that the building itself had been constructed in three parts, with again little evidence of the structural stability of these parts.”
“To this end we met on site with Historic England to discuss possible solutions, including underpinning the remaining elements and possible full dismantling of the remaining.”
“Further to these discussions and work with our architects and structural surveyors we identified that the costs of underpinning the remaining, would be extremely prohibitive and present significant challenges to the rebuild process.”
“As a result of this, YMCA Somerset Coast have submitted an application to demolish the remaining element, with a firm commitment as in the accepted planning approval to rebuild the façade in the style of the Hotel prior to the fire, so as the gateway to Highbridge can once again be impressive.”
“It is anticipated that the bricks removed by hand will be used as part of this redevelopment.”
“The delays have caused considerable costs to the YMCA, and frustration to our partners, however we feel that we are approaching this in the correct manner, and look forward to seeing the once great building emerging from the site in the later part of this year.”
“Further to the application we are about to commence on a competitive tendering exercise for the build and would hope to be in a position to award the contract in September, with activity commencing on the site shortly after and a completion date in December 2018.”
Georgina Jones, YMCA Somerset Coast Sedgemoor Director, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: ‘It has taken a long time to get to this point, however it is important that we approach the project in detail and with sensitivity, the team and I are excited and very much looking forward to working further in the community of Highbridge we are sure the Hotel will be an excellent resource for everybody.”
She added that the YMCA would like to thank all those who have been supporting them during this challenging period, and would also encourage those who may wish to be involved to get in touch using firstname.lastname@example.org.
How the building looked until it was partially demolished last year