Go-ahead for bid to turn Keynsham's Pioneer pub into flats

Published on: 06 Jan 2016

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January 2016

A bid to convert a vacant Keynsham pub into houses, which prompted more 130 letters of objection, has been given the go-ahead by planners.

The Pioneer on Station Road, along with a new rear extension, will now be turned into four two-bed townhouses with four parking spaces following more than two years of refusals and planning appeals.

The plans were given the green light by members of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s development management committee on December 16.

Councillors sitting on the committee heard that previous applications to develop the site had been refused on a number of grounds, including their impact on neighbouring properties and the conservation area and lack of parking.

After two appeals by the owners of the site, however, a scheme for three townhouses was finally agreed earlier in 2015, officers explained – but the developer was now seeking permission for revised proposals featuring four new homes.

The new scheme attracted 131 letters of objection as well as opposition from Keynsham Town Council, which said it felt the size and scale were “totally out of keeping with the wider street scene”, citing concerns over the impact on nearby grade II*-listed St John’s Church and neighbouring properties and that the development would add to parking problems and access in the narrow Pool Barton street.

Keynsham North councillor Charles Gerrish spoke against the plan at the December meeting at the Guildhall, telling the committee he felt four homes was a “step too far”, and the design was “still unacceptable”.

However, council officers took an opposing view, recommending the scheme for approval and concluding in their report to the planning chiefs that the revised application had addressed the reasons for previous refusals.

The report said: “It [the proposal] is considered to preserve the setting of the listed church and enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. Furthermore, revisions to the scheme ensure that it does not harm neighbouring amenity and does not prejudice highways safety.”

The plan was passed by the committee six votes to two.

As part of the development, the area that formerly accommodated the pub’s main bar and the two existing flats above will be retained, with officers saying “the application does not propose the total loss of the pub and there is every chance that this community facility may subsist”.

Residents took to Facebook at news of the decision to allow The Pioneer to be converted, calling it the “end of an era”.

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