Published:
October 13, 2016
New plans for sports hall and flats unveiled for Highbridge Hotel site

The boss of a multi-million pound project to transform the former Highbridge Hotel site into a modern, new community facility has this week unveiled new several changes to the scheme.

YMCA Somerset Chief Executive Martin Hodgson, pictured, who is leading the project, told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week that after "frustrating" delays, the project is now moving forward.

The crumbling hotel was finally demolished earlier this year, eight years after a huge fire destroyed the Highbridge Hotel in April 2008.

With the help of major grant funding, the YMCA is to build a modern new premises with affordable flats and a bigger than planned community sports hall.

Mr Hodgson told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Having now taken time to review the initial planning consent, the YMCA has been able to further develop the scheme so the Highbridge Hotel can offer more for the communities of Burnham and Highbridge."

"The initial planning application formed part of a larger application and to this end the YMCA’s input was limited. We now feel that the tweaks we have done to the scheme not only deliver what was promised from the original scheme but more community facilities and in the right format to be able to be sustainable for the future."

"The scheme which we are proposing makes more of the ground floor area in the main building, with some larger public spaces, an increase in meeting rooms and smaller consultation rooms which would be suitable for individual conversations."

"The first and second floors offer 21 units of accommodation which are self contained, and through being so ensure a variety of accommodation options can be included. We have also been able to ensure that we are able to provide a fully accessible flat for those with additional needs on the ground floor."

"The more significant change is the sports hall and Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) elements, now we have cleared the site, it became very clear to us that the proposed siting of the MUGA is far too close to the new residential units, and whilst a MUGA would be an asset we have determined that in relation to our near neighbours it would be of considerable discomfort due to the noise."

"To this end we have used the area originally proposed for the MUGA to look to extend the multi-purpose sports hall element. From conversations in the community, access to a space which can be multi-purpose - i.e. used for a variety of activities during the day and evening - is a real need. This provision allows for health and wellbeing activities for the whole community each day."

"As we have said previously the delays to get to this point have been frustrating, however in the context of a project which will be of benefit to the community for many years, and with the aim of ensuring the scheme is right, decisions which have taken time needed to be made."

"Most recently the YMCA has been developing a model where its delivery of community activities are free at the point of access to the whole community, it is anticipated that once complete the Highbridge Hotel will be a model where this style of provision can be further developed to have a real long lasting impact on the wellbeing and futures of a great community."

 

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