Keynsham Riverside and leisure centre revamp get the go-ahead

Published on: 03 Mar 2017

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The £20 million conversion of Keynsham’s Riverside building into flats and overhaul of the town’s leisure centre have been given the go-ahead.

The scheme, which will see the 1970s office block in Temple Street turned into 98 flats as well as the extension of the leisure centre, was given the green light by Bath and North East Somerset Council planning officials in February.

Work will be able to get under way on transforming the exterior of the five-storey office block, which will include cladding it in white render, setting its top floor back and creating roof terraces as well as adding balconies.

A report to the council said the proposal would “reduce the bulk and perceived scale” of the building and would “modernise an otherwise tired and somewhat drab building”.

Inside, the former office space will become 31 one-bed flats, 60 two-beds, six three-beds and one four-bed, while the shops on the ground floor will be retained. Residents’ parking for 73 cars will be provided in the lower floor of the Civic Centre – but a proposed extra 12 spaces on the site of the River Suite have been withdrawn because of concerns over visibility for drivers exiting onto Temple Street.

B&NES Highways team has raised concerns over the number of parking spaces, saying it falls well short of the maximum 166 spaces required under policies set out in the area’s Local Plan.

But council planning officers said the building’s position within walking distance of the town centre, railway station and other modes of public transport meant it was in a “highly sustainable location” and that there was “extensive” public parking locally.

“It is considered unlikely that there is insufficient capacity within the town centre for the additional parked cars generated by this development,” the report adds.

Meanwhile the refurbishment of Keynsham Leisure Centre, expanding it into the former snooker centre and a new extension on the edge of the neighbouring park, was also approved.

The plans include a new learner swimming pool and fitness suite, new studio space, café and soft play area and the planning officers’ report concludes: “The proposed extension, providing a learners’ swimming pool, and associated works will provide a much-needed community facility. The public benefits of this facility, which are significant, will outweigh the loss of and harm to the adjacent park. In design terms the existing building will be significantly enhanced as will the conservation area.”

The leisure centre proposal prompted more than 40 comments from the public, many of which objected to the proposal for mixed swimming pool changing facilities.

B&NES’ property and project delivery director Derek Quilter said the changing room layout was still being developed with comments being “taken on board” and added: “When the layouts are complete we will publish the final layouts prior to any work commencing.”

In a presentation on the scheme last year, Mr Quilter said he hoped the whole scheme would be completed by the end of 2018.

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