Ceremony marks milestone for Keynsham's regeneration
Published on: 23 Oct 2013
Keynsham's £34 million regeneration project reached a major milestone today (October 23).
A traditional "topping out" ceremony was held to celebrate the construction of the highest point of the site's structure, which also marked the start of the one-year countdown until the development opens in October 2014.
The site will include a new library, one-stop shop for community services, a public hall, council offices for hundreds of workers and 12 new shops.
Retailers lined up for some of the units are being kept under wraps as talks continue to fill the larger shops - but a number of national names that don't already have outlets in Keynsham are set to open alongside a couple of local independent traders, Councillor David Bellotti, B&NES Cabinet member for community resources, said.
He was joined by Keynsham Town Council chairman Gill Hellier, B&NES chairman Councillor Neil Butters, and representatives from developer Willmott Dixon to tighten the last bolt on the highest point of the civic centre structure, as other Keynsham councillors and traders looked on.
Derek Quilter, B&NES project manager, said work was on schedule to see the one-stop shop open in July and the council's offices in September or October. He said: "The main focus is on making a low-energy building and minimising energy consumption. The offices will have 800 PV (photovoltaic) panels, the largest area in B&NES. It should be a building of national importance when it comes to how to deliver low-energy buildings."
Council staff will move into the new offices from the neighbouring Riverside complex next year and plans to redevelop the vacant building are being discussed.
Mr Bellotti said local people could now see the new facilities taking shape and the development would become a hub for the community.
He said: "Residents can come for advice and help, the library will be here and there will be a community facility with a hall for music, drama and public meetings. The civic centre will become a focus for residents. The 12 shops are all part of it because that will hopefully lead to the regeneration of Keynsham High Street. The independent traders will get people to spend money in their shops, the number of charity shops will reduce, independents will grow. The regeneration is all about giving jobs to local people."
Neal Stephens, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon in the South West, said: “We’re delighted with the building’s progress and that we have reached such a significant milestone within time and budget. 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.”
For a video on progress on the regeneration project, click here.