Hundreds sign petition supporting Keynsham surgery's move to Somerdale

Published on: 06 Jan 2016

January 2016

More than 700 people have signed a petition supporting the relocation of a Keynsham GP surgery from its current home into the ground floor of one of the former Cadbury’s factory blocks.

The relocation of St Augustine’s Surgery on Station Road into the Somerdale site is part of care home provider St Monica Trust’s £60 million plan for the three buildings, with a decision expected from Bath and North East Somerset Council soon.

The trust is seeking to change the use of Block A – initially earmarked for more than 110 apartments – so it forms a care village with Block B and to alter the ground floor of Block C from B1 office employment space to accommodate the new surgery, a shop and pharmacy.

A request has been made by Keynsham North councillor Brian Simmons that the proposal is debated by B&NES’ development management committee as it’s “a departure from the core strategy and changes significantly the employment policy for the site”.

The surgery’s four doctors have written to planning chiefs to make the case for relocation and the change in use, saying existing practices in Keynsham could not cope with the thousands of extra residents expected over the coming decade while St Augustine’s premises couldn’t meet modern standards and were no longer fit for purpose.

The group said: “We understand the desire of the council to see this development providing new employment – many of our existing patients are ex-Cadbury’s workers. We do feel that although GP medical premises is not categorised as B1 office space, our inclusion will bring new additional employment. We will be expanding our premises’ size and will require more staff to service our ever-enlarging patient list size. The majority of our staff also live locally so we are helping with local employment.”

B1 use includes offices, research and development of products and processes and light industry appropriate in a residential area.

St Monica Trust says the care home will employ around 250 people, including 150 full-time roles, while property consultant Alder King says the office space in the upper five floors of Block C would accommodate around 1,000 people and there were a “range of interested parties”.

In its application, the trust says: “Our economic benefits and job creation will be close to that approved under the previous application. We will provide a better variety and mix of job types than the approved scheme.”

Keynsham Town Council has supported the application but said the employment provision previously approved as part of Taylor Wimpey’s original application should form part of the permission if the new application is agreed.

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