Letter: Spirit and character of town will not be broken

The Focus Group working with the architects cannot achieve miracles, only minor modifications to the roofline of the blocks and limited choice of the cladding materials. This is not satisfactory for any of the interested parties; compromise is a good solution in social matters but not in building design!

Events of the last year should serve as a sharp reminder that it is desirable to be consulted and have influence upon a major project at its earliest stage. Thereafter, groups of residents and voters with limited part-time resources are left battling with the might not only of developers, but the visions and enthusiasm of the full-time local authority employees, which are often at odds with the needs and aspirations of those paying their salaries.

It is time for Keynsham residents to redirect their energy and enthusiasm away from things we cannot influence to those we can. Whatever the local authority imposes upon us, they cannot break our spirit, individuality and character. We’re not and have no plans to be a mini Bath, suburb of either Bath or Bristol, or a cloned soulless out-of-town venue for either. We shall do what Keynsham does best. People love our High Street for its specialist shops, professional advice, individual service and friendly atmosphere. We should be building on this and expanding our range as other traders are attracted by new premises and our much increasing population.

Current residents would do well to consider their own shopping habits. The present traders  need our support, particularly through the transition period.

Besides the new centre, there will be more inspirational public art, new signage, heritage trails and good street furniture. Hopefully the public will match the efforts of the individual shopkeepers by upholding a total ban on litter and antisocial behaviour.

We need to make our town a welcoming, clean environment for everyone, with a distinctive character of its own.

Judi Grant,

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