£50m redevelopment planned for Keynsham's Somerdale factory

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By JoannaPazucha | Saturday, January 07, 2012, 15:58

The Somerdale factory in Keynsham is set to become the site of a new primary school, 700 homes, a hotel, nursing home, restaurant and a new Fry Club as part of a £50m redevelopment.

Developer Taylor Wimpey has been revealed as the buyer of the 220-acre site, although neither it nor previous owner Kraft would reveal how much it had been sold for. It is believed to be considerably more than the rumoured £6 million. 

Kraft's agent BNP Paribas and the developer are believed to have been discussing the sale for months before the recent announcement that the deal had been finalised.

The new properties will be a mix of starter, family homes and retirement homes, while 20,000 sq metres of land will be set aside for commercial development. The existing sports fields, including the football and cricket pitches and golf course, as well as the woodland will not be developed.

Consultation with Keynsham residents on the proposals will begin within weeks and Taylor Wimpey hopes to submit plans by the end of the year.

Nigel Holland, managing director of Taylor Wimpey in Bristol, said: "This redevelopment offers an exciting opportunity to create an attractive and integrated new quarter for Keynsham.

"The vision quite simply is to make the best use of the considerable assets on site and to add to these to provide an aspirational location for sustainable living and working, which provides for the needs of the local community.

"We have our own initial thoughts for what could be achieved but we are committed to working together with the local community and listening to people's ideas and opinions to ensure that what we create at Somerdale meets the needs of new and existing residents.

"Public consultation will form a major part of the planning process and the development of the scheme moving forward."

Mr Holland said: "The Cadbury factory was a significant landmark and we want to ensure that the buildings we create will continue to contribute to what is a distinctive part of Keynsham.

"We will be investing over £50 million in this scheme and will create a substantial number of new jobs, both during the construction phase and hopefully thereafter within the employment-use elements."

However, there is still concern about the future of the site.

Keynsham South Tory councillor Alan Hale said: "The continued uncertainty and lack of information surrounding the future of the Somerdale site is not good for Keynsham.

"This is an important site for our town and it is vital that residents are fully engaged in its future. There has been a general consultation about the future use of the site during the council's core strategy development process. However, as plans progress, residents should be given a greater say on more detailed ideas for the site."

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