A SOMERSET hotel could reopen and expand in the coming months if new plans are given the green light by district councillors, writes Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter. 

The Blue Ball Inn lies on the B3081 Coombe Street in Bruton town centre, and provided bed-and-breakfast accommodation before it closed down in early 2020.

Cosmos Bruton Ltd. has now applied to reopen the hotel, as well as providing a link to and additional rooms within the neighbouring Number One Hotel.

South Somerset District Council is expected to make a final decision on the plans by the early summer.

Elements of the Blue Ball Hotel (formerly known as The White Hart) date back to the late-18th century – though there is evidence of a coaching inn being present on this site since the 16th century.

The developer, based in Weybridge in Surrey, wishes to upgrade the existing rooms within the Blue Ball complex and to provide a connection with the neighbouring hotel to ensure both sites could continue to be viable.

A spokesman for Benjamin & Beauchamp (representing the applicant) explained: “These proposals seek to upgrade the existing hotel accommodation and link this building to the neighbouring hotel at 1 High Street, which has operated successfully and gained a high reputation for quality since opening in 2019.

“These proposals will preserve the use of the Blue Ball as a hotel and add additional rooms to Number One Bruton, which will improve the commercial viability of the whole [site].

“Linking of the two hotel sites will allow a share of functions and rationalisation of many service spaces. It will also provide both hotels (Number One and the Blue Ball) with a critical mass of accommodation, which will greatly improve their commercial viability.”

In order to bring the Blue Ball Hotel up to standard, the number of rooms will be reduced from six to five and the former manager’s flat will be removed.

The spokesman added: “Due to the nature of the building and the site, it will not be possible to make the ground floor entirely accessible throughout without significant detriment to the character and use of the building.

“The proposals have sought to simplify the layout of the building, and in doing so a number of stepped thresholds have been removed and circulation spaces made more generous in places.”

Up to five new full-time jobs will be created if the proposals are approved.

It is not currently clear whether the plans will be decided in public by the council’s area east committee or through the delegated powers of its planning officers.