CONTROVERSIAL plans to transform a derelict hotel site into affordable homes for young people have been given the green light.

Sedgemoor District Council (SDC) has approved a proposal to build 23 accommodation units, public access meeting rooms, a cafe and a sports hall on the former Highbridge Hotel site on Huntspill Road.

The site has lain derelict since 2008 after being devastated by two fires in six years.

In the original plans, YMCA Somerset Coast said they planned to rebuild the front of the building in the style of the former hotel, which Burnham and Highbridge town councillors gave their backing to earlier this year.

At a planning meeting in April, councillors from the town council's planning committee backed the developer’s plans to clad the sports hall with multi-coloured blocks, despite councillors saying it looked like ‘something out of Lego Land’.

Councillor Nick Tolley from Burnham and Highbridge Town Council's planning committee, said he is 'disappointed' SDC approved the plans as he thinks the new sports hall will look 'garish'.

"I feel that so much effort went in to keeping the facade and look of the replacement building for the Highbridge Hotel then to put such a contrasting structure right next to it is going to make the whole look of that part of the town very strange," Cllr Tolley said.

"I still think that the building and its intended use is excellent but it would be nice to blend the building in with the existing architecture rather than let the new structure over shadow the nice lines and decor of the other buildings."

Councillor John Parkes, said he hopes the developers change their minds and clad the building so it fits in with the local area.

"Any new facility which encourages community use and promotes the positive health and well being of local residents is to be applauded.

"I would agree it did appear on the plans to be a Legoland monstrosity however the revised plans for this sports hall facility rather than the original open air multi use games area are welcomed given residents rightful concerns around possible anti social behaviour.

"I would hope that the facade of the sports hall was 'more sympathetic' with its immediate surroundings."