'Garden community' of 1,500 homes proposed for Keynsham

November 05 2018

Council leaders are set to discuss ambitious plans to create a “garden community” of around 1,500 homes on land behind Waitrose in Keynsham.

The scheme has been on the table for a number of years as Bath and North East Somerset Council has looked at how to meet house-building targets – and soon residents will be asked for their views on this and a raft of options covering future developments across the area for the next 18 years.

The debate by cabinet members at B&NES is the next stage in updating the Local Plan for the district, which will set out where new homes and employment sites will be located up to 2036.

The Keynsham site is to the north of the town between the bypass and the River Avon, is crossed by the Great Western main railway line and is largely on green-belt land. It also includes nearby “safeguarded” former green-belt land between Keynsham and Saltford, which has been set aside for future development and is near a site that is being turned into a new housing estate on Keynsham’s eastern edge, off the Bath Road, by Crest Nicholson.

As well as 1,500 homes, the blueprint also includes 50,000 sq ft of employment space, potentially accommodating around 1,600 jobs, a new primary school, local shops and possibly a new marina on the river. The proposal also says Avon Valley Wildlife and Adventure Park would be retained “as an integral part of the North Keynsham site” but could be relocated further to the east.

In their report to council leaders, officers say work on any new homes at the site should not begin until a new road has been created to link Avon Mill Lane with the A4 and a Metrobus route connecting Keynsham and Bristol is in place alongside other transport improvements. The link road scheme – estimated to cost around £24 million and including plans to close Pixash Lane Bridge to vehicles and make the Broadmead Lane under-bridge one-way – is also among the options to be discussed by the cabinet.

Council leaders will also be asked to look at the proposed expansion of Hicks Gate roundabout and a series of highways projects that will provide a link from the A37 in south Bristol to the Hicks Gate junction. Other options up for discussion as part of the Local Plan update are:

  • Creation of a new settlement to the South East of Whitchurch, to deliver new homes and jobs
  • Introduction of restrictions on new student accommodation, requiring all new developments to be provided on campus.
  • Relocation of Bath’s Household Reuse and Recycling facility to Odd Down.
  • Expansion of the employment land allocation and broadening the mix of uses, both to enable the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone.
  • The introduction of new restrictions on the location of fast food takeaways to prevent them from opening near schools and youth facilities.
  • A review of parking standards and provision for electric vehicles infrastructure
  • Review of the policy approach for the regeneration of areas of social housing

Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, said: “We want to develop a Local Plan that addresses our future housing and economic needs, while respecting and protecting our beautiful environment. Many of the options we’re discussing are ambitious, but also address concerns raised by residents.

“This plan will shape the future of Bath and North East Somerset for the next two decades so it’s really important that it works for all our communities. We’ve asked residents for their views at every stage of its development and once cabinet has discussed the options we’ll be consulting again.”

Meeting on October 31, the cabinet is due to decide whether to put the proposed options forward for public consultation. If they do, the consultation will take place from November 12 to December 21.

The Local Plan is being prepared alongside work on the Joint Spatial Strategy and the Joint Transport Strategy for the whole of the West of England region. For more information, see the papers prepared for the cabinet meeting at https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=4660