A FORMER hotel could be turned into accommodation for homeless people in Minehead.

The YMCA Dulverton Group wants to repurpose the Gascony Hotel of The Avenue and Tregonwell Road.

Somerset West and Taunton Council will decide whether the conversion should go ahead, or if it would cause the town to “become a repository for other areas’ problems”.

Under the proposals, the building would be converted to provide self-contained and shared accommodation, along with office and meeting space.

The ground floor would include one self-contained unit, one three- and one-four bedroom unit with shared kitchen facilities, an office and meeting room where training could take place.

There will be eight more bedrooms on the first floor and two on the second floor, all with en suite bathrooms.

A spokesperson for Zest Design Solutions Ltd, representing the YMCA, said: “This property has been marketed for sale for a number of years.

“While a previous planning application has been approved for the conversion and extension of the property into residential dwellings, securing a developer to take on the project has remained elusive.

“The YMCA has identified the property as a candidate to provide much-needed accommodation in the area.”

Somerset County Gazette: The Gascony Hotel On The Avenue In Minehead. CREDIT: Zest Design Solutions. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.The Gascony Hotel On The Avenue In Minehead. CREDIT: Zest Design Solutions. Free to use for all BBC wire partners.

The YMCA has already been running a homeless hostel at Canonsgrove, in Trull, since the first coronavirus lockdown.

It also operates a number of hotels and venues across Somerset to generate commercial income, including The Beach Hotel in Minehead and The Great Western Hotel at Taunton Station.

Minehead Town Council has said there is “no material planning reason” why the development should not proceed, although it feels there should be “evidence of local need”.

Minehead Conservation Society welcomes the project, but hopes it is specifically aimed at local people.

A society spokesperson said: “We welcome the fact that both the exterior and interior are to be preserved more or less intact.

"It is vital that Minehead’s Edwardian architecture is protected to maintain the attractiveness of the town.

“However, we feel that the application should supply evidence of need within the district for the type of housing proposed.

“We would oppose the provision of homing people from outside the local area, such as from Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.

"If there is a need within the area then it is justified, but we need proof that there is.

“Local people must come first. Residents do not want to see their town become a repository for other areas’ problems, which should being addressed by their own authorities.”