Go-ahead for study into ambitious vision for River Avon at Keynsham

Published on: 09 Sep 2013

A group hoping to revitalise the River Avon in Bath and North East Somerset has been given the go-ahead to explore plans for hundreds of jobs, new homes, a marina and leisure and tourism facilities in Keynsham.

The River Regeneration Trust unveiled its vision to B&NES Council leaders last month, who have now commissioned a study by the group into the potential of the Broadmead Peninsula.

The blueprint put forward by the group for the site near the Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park includes more than 450 marina berths, around 350 houses, holiday homes, houseboats, recreational areas, an aquatic centre, microbusinesses and the potential for hundreds of new jobs.

If the initiative became reality it would help offset some of the recent loss of employment suffered by Keynsham, says trust member  and the council’s River and Canal Champion Councillor Dave Laming. He said: “We have established key relationships with Wessex Water, the Canal and River Trust, The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and Curo Homes, together with Memoranda of Understanding with major Broadmead Peninsula landowners.

“These partnerships, together with the allocation of £100,000 from the council for river corridor regeneration, mean the trust can now concentrate on using the river to help Keynsham reclaim hundreds of the jobs lost by the closure of Cadbury’s, and add to the 1,000 promised by Taylor Wimpey at Somerdale.”

Geoff Dunford, chairman of the trust and a Keynsham resident, said a report from 2011 by the group had identified Keynsham as the best location to create hundreds of jobs in a sustainable community on the River Avon.

“We are delighted to have been commissioned by the council to undertake a scoping study to identify economic development opportunities in the Broadmead Peninsula.”

Paul Crossley, leader of the council, added: “We are delighted that the River Regeneration Trust is investigating a land improvement scheme. Our long-term ambition is for Keynsham to have a significant role in the wider West of England. This will be an exciting place to live, work and be entertained. The Cabinet and I look forward to receiving the study.”

The group’s timescale could see them reporting back within six to eight weeks. The trust brings together a number of experts in various fields to work with landowners, the council and other organisations to come up with initiatives to help reconnect residents with the river.

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