Care village and new GP surgery in Somerdale factory buildings get the go-ahead
Published on: 04 Mar 2016
A care village and new doctors’ surgery at Keynsham’s Somerdale site have been approved by Bath and North East Somerset planners.
St Monica Trust’s application to turn the former chocolate factory buildings at the site into a 93-bed care home, 128 extra-care apartments, a GP surgery, a pharmacy and offices went before the development management committee on February 10.
Planners were asked to debate the scheme by Keynsham North councillor Brian Simmons as the plan was a departure from the original proposal for employment space, in which Blocks B and C would have been turned into offices, accommodating around 1,000 workers.
Under the new proposal, only Block C will become office space, accommodating around 900 workers.
St Monica Trust chief executive David Williams addressed councillors at the meeting and said the care village would provide another 200 jobs.
He said: “The trust has been actively trying to find a site in the B&NES area for more than 20 years. We are delighted that the opportunity has arisen to provide a state-of-the-art flagship care village in this exciting new development.
“In providing this, we will also build and manage the office accommodation and new medical centre which will produce good long-term income to help fund the charity’s activities.
“The trust engaged in extensive public consultation and providing a new GP surgery was always something that people told us we should do. We are providing this with beneficial terms to the NHS without them having to put forward a large capital sum.
“One issue was that our communal space should be open to the public. It is important to us to integrate the site into the community and the public will be able to use the extensive facilities we have on site for the care village.
“We will also be providing more than 1,000 jobs at the site and the slight reduction in office space is more than made up by the 200 and above employees in the care village.”
Also backing the application was NHS England and 700 people who signed a petition calling for the new surgery to be granted approval to allow the town’s St Augustine’s Surgery to relocate.
Keynsham East councillor Bryan Organ, a member of the planning committee, said he was delighted St Monica Trust was coming to Keynsham and, putting forward a motion to approve the plan, said: “We haven’t lost employment and with a bit of luck we are going to gain.”
Councillor Paul Crossley (Southdown) seconded the motion, which was passed unanimously. The trust hopes to complete the work by mid-2017.