YMCA is tackling homelessness among young people with ambitious plans to develop a derelict hotel into affordable flats in Highbridge.

The charity has submitted a planning application for the fire-ravaged Highbridge Hotel after proposals were first drawn up four years ago.

YMCA Bridgwater wants approval from Sedgemoor District Council to build 23 affordable units, public access meeting rooms, a café and a sports hall.

The building, in Huntspill Road, has lain derelict after being devastated by two fires in six years.

In a statement accompanying the plans drawn up by BBA Architects, YMCA said: “Homelessness can happen to anyone. You could be 18 and fall out with your parents, maybe they kick you out. Or perhaps their issues mean you just can’t live with them anymore.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

“You might be 60, have lost your job, your home and your partner. Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle, had your own flat but found yourself unable to cope with payments.

“People lose their homes for all kinds of reasons, at all stages of life.

“We provide 200 permanent beds across our sites in Bridgwater, Weston-super-Mare and West Somerset. Depending on the support needs of our residents, we have shared rooms and flats, studio flats, cluster rooms and houses for families or small groups. Having a safe and stable place to stay is a valuable step.”

The application is for full planning and listed building consent for the hotel, which was founded in the late 18th century, and the former cattle market site to the rear.

There are no parking needs for the type of accommodation proposed but cycle storage is planned for the site.

Martin Hodgson, CEO YMCA Somerset Coast, said: “Transforming such an icon building, which has fallen into such a state of disrepair, we recognise will not be easy, however, we are working hard to ensure that from the start we have a clear picture of how the development will progress.”

The earliest decision date for the plans is February 17.