Green light for Keynsham regeneration
By BeckyFeather | Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 16:30
Planning permission for the regeneration of Keynsham town centre was finally granted today.
These empty shops in Keynsham, long with the neighbouring town hall and library, are being knocked down to pave the way for the new £34m development, the design of which was approved by planners today
Bath & North East Somerset Council's development control committee gave revised plans the go-ahead by 12 votes to one.
Planners considered the views of around 2,000 people who attended three exhibitions held over the past year and the comments made by members on the committee in August.
This resulted in changes to the scheme, such as the roof design, and reduction in the area of brass used, which subsequently received the approval of Keynsham Town Council.
However, not everyone is happy, with Roger Busby, from Keynsham Civic Society, saying the revised plans still lacked any "local distinctiveness".
Contractors Willmott Dixon have already started on site stripping out the existing buildings to prepare for demolition. It is anticipated the scheme will be completed by autumn 2014.
The scheme includes new space for shops and restaurants, a new library and One Stop Shop for local public sector services, new streets and spaces for markets and events, and low-carbon sustainable council offices.
Cllr David Bellotti, cabinet member for community resources, said this afternoon: "This scheme will bring new jobs, greater prosperity, and an improved look and feel to Keynsham."
Cllr Paul Crossley, the leader of the council, added, "The revamp of the centre is one part of our overall plans for the town which include the redevelopment of Somerdale and the Riverside building that the council will vacate.
"A vastly improved town centre will encourage private sector investment into Keynsham, resulting in new jobs, new homes and opportunities for local people."
Options and negotiations for the demolition and redevelopment of the Riverside building are continuing. Ideas are being explored for a range of uses for the site and particularly housing, including town houses and retirement living for older people.
There will be consultation with the community before any decision on the future of the site.
Work continues to be developed on a highways scheme to help improve access and reduce congestion and options for a replacement swimming pool are also being discussed.