Proposals for Keynsham High Street improvements finalised as council makes bid for £1.5m
A bid for £1.5 million to revamp parts of Keynsham town centre with the aim of attracting more people and businesses to the High Street is due to be submitted this month.
Last month leaders at Bath and North East Somerset Council approved proposals to improve public spaces on a section of the High Street between Charlton Road and Rock Road.
The plan will now be sent to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which will decide whether to award the scheme a grant of £1.5m.
The council says the one-way High Street arrangement introduced in 2017 has reduced nitrogen dioxide levels to within European health guidelines and will therefore be made permanent, with the “public realm” improvements drawn up following feedback from the town.
The proposals include pavement widening, new lighting in the walkways linking the High Street to Ashton Way and the Memorial Park and upgrades to pedestrian crossings.
The bus stop on the High Street will also be enlarged to make it more accessible for Dial-a-Ride passengers and repositioned to allow cars to pass when a bus is stopped. More seating will be installed and there will be improvements to cycle lanes and the disabled parking bays in the High Street.
The plans also involve better street signage and looking at ways to make the centre greener, with more planting and by working with the churches on the High Street to enhance the areas outside them.
Councillor Paul Myers, cabinet member for economic and community regeneration, said: “Across the UK high streets are struggling. We want to ensure our local high streets thrive. Improving Keynsham town centre’s streets and spaces will make shopping, doing business and visiting the town a more pleasant experience which in turn will help to strengthen the local economy. We have listened to residents, taken on board their comments and updated and revised our plans accordingly.”
If the funding is approved, work is expected to begin in spring 2020 and be completed by March 2021.
Councillor Charles Gerrish, cabinet member for finance and efficiency, added: “These public realm improvements form one of the many initiatives, including the £10m refurbishment of the leisure centre and the 95 new riverside homes, that will help future proof the economy of the centre of our town as Keynsham continues to grow.”
As part of the consultation, 140 people responded to share their views on the proposals, with the top three issues identified by those taking part including pedestrian safety and convenience, then bus facilities and then pollution and noise. The report on the consultation said that parking and congestion “remains a key negative” for many.
People were also asked which areas were most in need of improvement in the longer term, with the Ashton Way/Charlton Road mini roundabout, Temple Street, the Upper High Street and Station Road Link coming out on top. The council said further work will take place in the future when funding become available.
To see full details of the plans and consultation results, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/keynsham