Bid to build new leisure marina at Keynsham is refused

Published on: 05 Feb 2016

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February 2016

A bid for a 326-berth marina in Keynsham has been rejected by council planning chiefs after they visited the site near the Broadmead Industrial Estate on the River Avon last month.

The proposal went before Bath and North East Somerset Council’s development control committee on January 13 and was refused by a majority of councillors, a decision welcomed by people living on boats currently moored at the site, who feared they would face eviction.

Council planning officers had already recommended the scheme was refused on a number of grounds, including the risk of harm to wildlife, trees and hedgerows; a lack of safe pedestrian and cycle routes and alternatives to using a car to access the town; the loss of agricultural land; inappropriate development of the green belt and the development’s impact on the surrounding landscape.

After the panel heard from a number of residents and Christopher Whitehouse from the developer’s agent Next Phase Development, Councillor Paul Crossley put forward a motion to reject the application, saying he agreed with the officers’ reasons for refusal and that there had been many discussions on how people could “live with water” but that this plan did not “meet any of the criteria”.

Councillor Rob Appleyard seconded the motion and added that he felt the council had a responsibility to the existing river residents.

There was some support among councillors, however, for the principle of a marina and development of the river at Keynsham.

Keynsham councillor Bryan Organ said: “There is room for a marina development along the River Avon but it [the proposal] is not quite right at the moment.”

People living on the river told Keynshamvoice last month that they felt they were “invisible” in the developer’s plans, while planning officers said a lack of policy on residential river moorings meant their loss could not be put forward as a reason for refusing the application.

Following the decision to refuse, Daniel Boulden, who lives on the river, said: “They had ignored us until today – I felt we had got a number of them [councillors] on our side.”

His neighbour Rupert Alcock also questioned the level of demand for more leisure moorings, saying it would be “counter-intuitive to claim an economic benefit to building a half-empty marina and evict 35 families”.

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