PLANS to convert vacant site into a hotel have been given the green light.

YMCA Somerset Coast submitted the plans to Taunton Deane Borough Council to bring Great Western House back to life.

The YMCA will be refurbishing the building to create 14 boutique hotel bedrooms, a café and conferencing space alongside co-location working spaces for small businesses in Taunton.

Planners at the Deane gave the go-ahead on October 4, as well as committing to loan the developers £750,000 to carry out the project.

Dave Jackson, director of social enterprise for YMCA Somerset Coast, said they were ‘extremely grateful’ to the council for their support.

He said: “It’s really exciting, now we can hit the ground running.

“We are extremely grateful to TDBC.

“Now we can start changing the lives of some people in the area.”

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The project is not a daunting one for the YMCA team, as they’ve successful carried out similar schemes, including the use of other listed buildings.

Mr Jackson added: “It’s a really unique way of using the building and bringing it back to life.

“This is all stuff we are used to.”

The building will feature a hotel, a cafe, conference rooms and a cooperative working space.

New job opportunities will also be created in the project, including apprenticeships.

Mr Jackson says they will be working closely with EDF while giving opportunities to young people who might have otherwise ‘fallen through the cracks’.

Planning officer, Bryn Kitching, said the hotel plans would be a ‘significant benefit’ for the town.

He said: “The building was originally constructed as the Station Hotel but has subsequently been converted into office accommodation.

“The last occupiers moved out some time ago and the building is currently vacant.

“In terms of the proposed use as offices and hotel, it is considered that this is acceptable in principle and the main considerations for this application are the impacts on the heritage asset.

“The most significant change to the external appearance of the building is the removal of the inappropriate paint on the brick and restoring the building back to something closer to it’s original appearance.

“This is considered to be a significant benefit for a building that forms a gateway into Taunton for those arriving by train.

“The reuse of the currently vacant building as offices and hotel will secure its long term future and it will enable restoration works that will have a significant improvement of the setting of this important listed building.”