A former Somerset council’s headquarters would “make a really nice Travelodge”, according to one councillor.

Somerset Council is currently conducting an in-depth review of its land, property and assets, including those which it inherited from the four district councils which were abolished in April 2023.

Where property is no longer required, officers have been exploring ways to sell the individual buildings off for new residential or commercial development, with the proceeds being used to fund front-line services.

The council has already identified that Petters House in Yeovil and C Block of County Hall in Taunton will be sold off, with three buildings in Williton also being disposed of as services are consolidated within West Somerset House (the former HQ of West Somerset Council).

Councillor Sue Osborne has now suggested that the former headquarters of Mendip District Council in Shepton Mallet should also be sold off and turned into a hotel.

Ms Osborne (who represents Ilminster and the surrounding villages) made her suggestion at a meeting of the council’s corporate and resources scrutiny committee in Taunton on March 7.

She said: “The first thing I thought when walking into the Shape Mendip campus was: ‘This would make a really nice Travelodge. It’s built like one.’

“I know I’m going to get shot by councillors in Mendip, but can you honestly justify having a building with a capacity of 366 desks and of all the offices, this is the one that’s declined most in use.

“It could be turned into independent living flats, it could be anything. Do we really need all this space sitting there?”

Of the 366 desks available at the Shape Mendip campus, on average only 67 were occupied at any one time during September 2023 (the most recent figures available).

The council chamber is still used to host monthly meetings of the council’s planning committee east, as well as licensing hearings, planning inquiries and meetings of the Somerset Rivers Authority board.

Sara Kelly, the council’s property rationalisation programme manager, responded: “What he have done over the winter months is to rationalise the space.

“There are two blocks on the site, and we have moved all our staff into one of the two blocks so we can reduce the heating. We have saved a reasonable amount of money over the winter by doing that.

“In terms of the longer term rationale for that site, it’s another site that we’re actively discussing with our one public estate partners [e.g. the police and fire service].

“There is interest in that, and we would want to allow those conversations to progress.”

Councillor Ros Wyke, portfolio holder for economic development, planning and assets, added: “I don’t think it’s helpful to speculate about this in the open about a specific office space until we have the options on the table and a discussion with the appropriate staff.”

Further updates regarding council assets in the former Mendip area are expected to come back to the committee in the coming months.