Should Keynsham split away from B&NES?

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By JoannaPazucha | Friday, May 13, 2011, 12:58

A letter from Councillor Keith Kirwan of Keynsham:

First and foremost I am writing to thank, through your pages, the people who voted for me on May 5. It was a pretty disastrous day for

Liberal Democrats in Keynsham unlike in the rest of Bath & NE Somerset where the party did pretty well despite the national mood.

In Keynsham we went from being the largest party on the town council to just one councillor – me.

The principal winner on the day was Conservatives with all six Bath & NE Somerset seats and the overwhelming majority of town council seats falling to them.

The natural question is why?

After much thought I believe that the key factor was the town centre regeneration project which Bath Liberal Democrats so vociferously opposed on the grounds that it cost too much at £33m.

I suspect there was also some prejudice that significant money was being spent outside Bath.

In the medium to long term the project could only be good for Bath; because people in council jobs in Bath would simply have a short commute to their new offices in Keynsham and much needed office space would be freed up in Bath creating job vacancies and income for the city.

Although having a high capital cost it would permanently cut down the council's operational costs because currently fragmented council activities would be centralised in one location.

To be honest I have opposed the project as it is currently conceived, because of the total lack of car parking facilities in it; Keynsham being already blighted by workers parking cars in residential streets throughout the town centre.

When the project gets to planning stage later this year I will see if we can get things fixed.

The results of the election further illustrate the imbalance in Bath & NE Somerset between Bath and the rest.

The unitary authority is in any case far too small to be efficient and do all the things central government wants a council to do.

It is time the big picture was looked at again.

The, to me, obvious solution is for northern Somerset to be split off from the proposed Somerset unitary authority and merged with appropriate ex-Avon unitary authorities.

Bye bye B&NES Council – welcome Bath & Wells Council.

And from

Andy Halliday Keynsham South Liberal Democrat:

I would like to thank all the residents of Keynsham South who kindly voted for me in the town council election.

I did also appreciate the many messages of support received in the days preceding the election.

I pledge to ensure the many issues that were raised with me I will ensure individuals will receive feedback on those issues, and updates on the more longer time matters I have recently been pursuing.

At the same time I will also continue, again appreciating support of friends and neighbours, our fight to preserve Abbots Wood in fact, and the feared issue of a possible road link between K2 site and Charlton Road.

Combined with the potential additional housing near our Federated estate homes, The existing traffic issue, is to me a real nightmare that seriously needs addressing as the recent strategy for Keynsham acknowledges.

I appreciate all the support that residents have given me to date, and I seriously hope this can continue as we face the potential challenges in forthcoming months.

      

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