THE owner of Bridgwater’s new ‘The Town Hotel says he has changed the name from the Mansion House to disassociate his business from the pub.

Abdullah Ulgut, who is behind the plans to create a 21-bedroom hotel in the listed town centre building, has responded to criticism from the Bridgwater and District Civic Society who issued a statement calling the decision ‘not only crass, but wiping out 500 years of history’.

Chris Sidaway, local historian and BDCS member, said: “”The Mansion House was Bridgwater’s Church House: built in the late 15th/early 16th century as a form of public hall where the ground floor facilitated ale brewing for church ales to raise funds for the upkeep for St Mary’s Church.

“Usually, they were in a corner of the churchyard, but as there was no space around the church it was built in the High Street.”

The Bridgwater Church House later became its grammar school, and this was where Robert Blake was educated before going to Oxford University.

Mr Sidaway continued: “Bridgwater’s Mansion House has kept its delightful 18th century outward appearance and has several internal late medieval features: it is a town gem.”

Responding to the Civic Society’s concerns, Mr Ulgut said: “The reason I decided to change the name to The Town Hotel was to separate my business from the previous occupiers The Mansion House Inn.

“I wanted the distinction to be clear that this was a new hotel under new ownership.”

Mr Ulgut said he expects the hotel open late May/early June.