Kick starting Keynsham's future
PUBLISHED: 09:10 29 January 2014 | UPDATED: 09:10 29 January 2014
As the people of Keynsham witness the changing face of their town, they secure the safety of a community art project celebrating their heritage
Words: Sarah Ford
All the new buildings, including 12 new retail units, should be open in Keynsham within a year. Cllr David Bellotti, Bath and North East Cabinet Member for Community Resources, tells Somerset Life why regeneration is taking place.
“Keynsham had become very tired looking with empty shops, outdated offices and poor community facilities. Residents were travelling out of town for their shopping and leisure. If action had not been taken the community would have continued its rapid decline.
“A new library, One Stop Shop for advice and information and a new community hall will provide the centerpiece for local residents. Offices above the shops will replace the existing council offices, be very energy sufficient, and provide for new partners such as the police and health professionals.
“This project will be the catalyst which kick starts the economic recovery for Keynsham. The High Street will benefit with extra customers and the challenge for local businesses will be to harness that potential. The challenge for residents will be to help restore pride in the community.
“The vacated old council office site will be regenerated and this will include some housing. The former Cadbury’s site will be developed with a mix of housing and employment. Other sites in Keynsham will be developed for housing. The council’s project is just a start for others to get engaged and provide Keynsham with a golden future.”
‘Excellent progress’ is being made on the regeneration of Keynsham which will bring new shops, new homes, public space and offices to the town.
Construction work has also brought in new jobs, training, and education opportunities to this busy Somerset market town near Bath.
A topping out ceremony marked the highest point of the buildings being constructed and Bath and North East Somerset, working in partnership with Willmott Dixon, has described the regeneration work as on-time and on-budget. The council has invested £34 million in the project.
Councillor David Bellotti says: “Since we started in October 2012, Keynsham people can see great changes taking place in their town centre with exciting new facilities emerging, like a new library, new retail units, new One Stop Shop of public services and community space.”
Neal Stephens, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon in the South West, says he is delighted with progress: “Working as sustainably as possible is also a priority for us and so we’re proud to be working towards the government’s highly regarded DEC ‘A’ rating on this build.
“We have also looked at employing local contractors, suppliers and subcontractors where possible- allowing other local businesses to benefit from this significant regeneration project.”