How 'dour' Riverside will get 21st-century new look

Published on: 03 Dec 2016

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Residents can finally see in detail how the 1970s Riverside office block will be brought into the 21st century as part of an ambitious scheme to transform Keynsham Leisure Centre and create 98 new homes in the town centre.

Bath and North East Somerset Council has officially submitted proposals for the £20million scheme, asking to be given the go-ahead to overhaul the leisure centre and former snooker centre, change the offices to residential use and clad the entire dark brown complex in light-coloured materials.

And while residents have played a vital role in shaping the scheme – fighting to keep the leisure centre on its current site and to retain the sports hall and poolside seating – this is the first time official comments in support of or objecting to the scheme can be submitted to B&NES planning chiefs, who will make the final decision in weeks to come.

Setting out the plans in detail on behalf of the council, planning consultants CSJ certainly don’t hold back in their assessment of the current Riverside complex, describing it as “dour”, “unpleasant”,  and as an “unworthy and antiquated architectural intrusion”.

In contrast, the new scheme will “enhance the appearance and attractiveness of Keynsham’s centre” and “aspires to complete Keynsham’s town centre regeneration”.

The expansion of the leisure centre will see existing facilities improved and the addition of a learner pool with gym above, and new studio spaces and soft play area in the former snooker centre. A sauna will also be included as well as a new café with outdoor seating.

The 98 apartments will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom properties and one four-bedroom home with 85 parking spaces – an increase on the 72 announced at a town council meeting in October – 73 of which will be located in the bottom floor of the Civic Centre car park and 12 on the site of the current River Suite, five of which will be disabled spaces.

The existing shops on the ground floor of the former office building will be refurbished.

The public can look through the plans and comment online in the Planning section at www.bathnes.gov.uk – the reference numbers for the  three applications are: 16/05586/REG03, 16/05646/ODCOU; 16/05574/REG03.

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