Green-belt land bid for roads and homes

March 03 2021

Council bosses are set to sign off the purchase of 70 acres of green-belt land in Keynsham to speed up delivery of new roads and more than 300 homes.

Documents released by Bath and North East Somerset Council say it has the opportunity to buy agricultural land that could in future form part of a wider area with space for 1,500 homes.

Also proposed is infrastructure that would help alleviate traffic congestion in Keynsham, with the creation of a new link between the A4 and Avon Mill Lane, upgrades to the town’s railway station and new cycle routes.

The council is set to ask the West of England Combined Authority for the funding, which would be repaid when the land is sold.

A decision notice due to be signed by council leader Dine Romero and cabinet colleagues after March 1 says: “Acquiring the land will allow B&NES Council to be proactive in working with the other landowners to promote the site, unlock the land and ensure that the other landowners work in collaboration to deliver comprehensive redevelopment.

“If the public sector does not intervene and allows the market to deliver, the development is likely to come forward piecemeal, with potentially lower levels of affordable housing and take considerably longer to deliver.

“It is intended to dispose of all or part of the land once planning permission is achieved and an infrastructure delivery strategy is in place. On receipt of the payment for the land, the funding will be repaid.”

Due to commercial sensitivity, the exact location of the land has not been revealed, although the papers say the council already has an interest in a site within the potential development area. Its property register shows that it owns Longreach Farm, near Worlds End Lane.

The council has been considering building a new garden community with around 1,500 homes in this area of north-east Keynsham for some time.

If the land purchase is signed off, B&NES Council will acquire the land and share the project costs, risk and reward on a 50/50 basis with the West of England Combined Authority, which approved the funding last week.