Plans to rebuild Keynsham’s 1960s town centre have been deferred pending further work on the design of the new buildings.
Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Development Control Committee met last Wednesday, 29 August, to decide whether or not to approve plans for the new town centre, which include new offices and shops as well as a civic building and public library.
Conservative councillors, who spoke at the meeting, have campaigned in favour of regenerating the town centre, but have said more work needs to be done to ensure the design stands the test of time and meets with the approval of Keynsham residents.
At the meeting concerns were raised about the ‘block’ type design of the buildings, as well as their flat roofs and bronze and copper cladding. On a motion moved by Keynsham councillor Bryan Organ (Cons, Keynsham East), councillors voted for the plans to come back to the committee after changes are made to the current design. Council officers will now work with the architects and a community focus group to try and address the concerns raised.
Keynsham councillors Charles Gerrish and Brian Simmons both spoke at the meeting calling for concerns about the design to be addressed.
Following the meeting Councillor Charles Gerrish (Cons, Keynsham North) said:
“I’m pleased with this outcome as I believe the current design can be improved upon, but the Council now needs to work quickly to address the concerns raised, taking advantage of the community focus group. We do not want our town centre left derelict and empty for any longer than necessary.
“A large number of residents contacted me about the plans, all of whom support the principle of redeveloping our dated town centre, but the majority of whom also wanted to see improvements to the design.”
Cllr Brian Simmons (Cons, Keynsham North) added:
“The regeneration of the town centre is crucial to the future of the local economy and would be a major boost to our town, but more work is needed on the current plans. Residents have said they are concerned about the block-style elements of the design, and would like to see more of an identifiable Keynsham landmark created to replace our current clock tower.”