Work to refurbish the eyesore Highbridge Hotel has finally got underway this week as part of a long-awaited project to breathe new life into the site.

Almost eight years after a huge fire that destroyed the Highbridge Hotel in April 2008, workmen moved onto the site this week and on Thursday they began to remove scaffolding so that parts of the building’s crumbling facade can be repaired.

With the help of signficant grant funding, the YMCA is redeveloping the site and transform it into a modern premises with 22 affordable flats for young people alongside community sports facilities.

This week, YMCA Somerset Chief Executive Martin Hodgson, who is leading the project, told that the project is “go, go, go.”

He added: “All Health and Safety matters are now dealt with, the site has been prepared, the welfare facilities have arrived, and the contractors will begin the process of reclamation and restoration.”

The news is a welcome step forward amid continuing dismay at the lack of progress.

The YMCA has held extensive discussions with key stakeholders, such as Sedgemoor District Council and English Heritage, to progress the project over the last two years while preserving key elements of the Grade-2 listed property.