Group sets out vision for jobs and homes at Keynsham's Broadmead Peninsula

Published on: 02 Oct 2013

An ambitious vision to make Keynsham the “centre of the West of England” by bringing new life to a stretch of the River Avon was presented to the town council last night (October 1).

Members of the River Regeneration Trust set out the group’s concept for hundreds of homes and jobs at the Broadmead Peninsula, near Pixash Lane.

The group, made up of environmentalists, local politicians, a range of consultants and landowners, has been commissioned by Bath and North East Somerset to undertake a £100,000 “scoping study” to look at the site’s potential, which they hope will be complete in four to five weeks.

Among the ideas being investigated for the peninsula are an early learning aquatic centre for schoolchildren, a marina offering several hundred berths for boats and factories offering “manufacturing for the future”.

Housing would include riverside homes, house boats and affordable housing, some of the materials for which the group envisions could be produced by a green recycling plant on-site, taking in electronic and electrical waste.

Trust chairman Geoff Dunford, a Keynsham resident, said since the days when Keynsham produced a range of goods for the world, including wool, glass steel, paper as well as chocolate, industry in the town had declined.

He said: “This has left Keynsham mostly as a commuter town with little employment to reduce the carbon footprint.”

“Keynsham needs a more significant role in Bath and North East Somerset and we have been asked by the council to concentrate on the Broadmead Peninsula,” he added.

“We would like to reconnect Keynsham to the river – why shouldn’t Keynsham be known as ‘Keynsham on Avon’?”  

The group will also be looking at access to the site, public transport, and investigating the flooding which affects the area.

Besides manufacturing, jobs would also come from the marina, cafes, and a waterside park, the presentation showed. An anaerobic digestion plant was also part of the blueprint being assessed by the group.

During questioning, the group was asked about the green-belt status of parts of the site. Sustainability consultant James Hurley, from the trust, said that as part of the Core Strategy being produced by the council some green-belt land would have to be released to meet housing targets.

“We would argue that north of the railway line and south of the river is less conspicuous than anywhere else that’s been promoted,” he said. “The idea of the scoping study is to help B&NES with the decision.”

A representative from Saltford Marina also quizzed the group on the need for extra berths for boats in the area – with a figure of 1,000 additional spaces across B&NES quoted - saying the Saltford site was not full. Mr Hurley said there was a two-year waiting list for berths in the area and that by creating a community on the river there would be more boats.

The trust said it would be holding public workshops as part of its work on the blueprint and the presentation will be available online at www.theriverregenerationtrust.co.uk.

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