Lack of parking scuppers Riverside apartments plan in Keynsham town centre

December 05 2015
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A bid to convert several floors of Keynsham’s Riverside office blocks into 110 flats has been withdrawn.

December 2015

A bid to convert several floors of Keynsham’s Riverside office blocks into 110 flats has been withdrawn.

Under the plans submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council in October, the first, second, third and fourth floors of the former council offices could have been turned into apartments.

The ground floor’s existing uses – currently Keynsham Town Council offices, shops and Keynsham Leisure Centre – would have remained largely the same.

The proposals came unstuck, however, over the thorny issue of parking. The development would include 116 bicycle stands and future residents of the flats would, said the leaseholder’s agent, be able to use the 80 spaces on the bottom level of the Civic Centre car park that had been used by council staff working at Riverside.

This would still be 103 parking spaces less than the required number as set out in the area’s Local Plan, the council’s Highways officers pointed out.

But the plan to use the car park for private parking was completely scuppered when it emerged the lease states the spaces must revert to public use after 6pm on weekdays and at weekends.

Writing to agents Montagu Evans, B&NES senior planning officer Christopher Griggs-Trevarthen said it was likely he would recommend that prior planning approval for the scheme was refused on highways and transport grounds unless it was withdrawn.

He said: “The lack of any on-site parking to serve the proposed 110 dwellings is not appropriate and would represent a significant shortfall in parking at a location where on-street parking is at a premium. It is unreasonable to expect occupiers to utilise paid-for public car parking spaces and this would also reduce the number available for shoppers and visitors to Keynsham town centre.”

The application was withdrawn by the agent on behalf of the leaseholder, Luxembourg-based Episo 3 Tree Properties Tranche C, on November 26.

The application had attracted a number of comments from residents, some raising concerns over parking while another said it could tackle anti-social behaviour in the area. Keynsham Town Council also wrote to B&NES to comment on the plans, highlighting parking issues and calling the application “premature” as councillors felt there should be a “whole site” application to include the leisure centre.