Work starts on new-look Keynsham High Street
Work to enhance Keynsham High Street was due to start on May 24.
The permanent improvements include footpath-widening and resurfacing, better signage, and cycling and bus stop facilities.
There will also be new street furniture, streetlights, landscaping and trees.
The enhancements between Charlton Road and Bath Hill seek to rejuvenate the town centre and attract locals and visitors back to the High Street.
The scheme is funded by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth and Getting Building Funds, administered by the West of England Combined Authority. It is also funded by the Combined Authority through its Love our High Streets programme.
The work was due to start last year before the project was paused temporarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some temporary access restriction measures were also put in place between Charlton Road and Bath Hill to enable social distancing.
Last year the council invited views from the public and stakeholders on the detailed designs and specification.
More than 100 responses were received and respondents were asked to rank the design elements they considered would be the most successful. The top three most popular were the reconfigured bus stop, paving materials and the pedestrian crossings.
In response to the consultation feedback, further changes were also made to the final design including:
- Improvements to widen the High Street junctions at Charlton Road and Bath Hill, as well as the access to the courtyard behind No. 69.
- New paving to be installed in front of the Methodist church to match the rest of the High Street
- Relocation of several planters. to improve visibility and safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
- Addition of dropped kerbs to disabled parking bays to improve accessibility.
- Signage improvements to cycle contra-flow lane to help improve pedestrian and cyclist interaction at crossing and intersections.
- A new shared-use footway at the top of Bath Hill to help cyclists to join the dedicated cycle lane.
- An improved cycle stand design, making it easier to secure bikes and which complements existing stands/furniture in the area.
Councillor Richard Samuel, Bath and North East Somerset Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for resources and economic development, said: “These works are the first step in revitalising Keynsham town centre.
“They will also improve sustainable transport by encouraging more pedestrians, cyclists and bus users to continue to make short local trips by walking or wheeling.
“The town centre is set to benefit from significant investment over the next few years, which will go a long way to keeping its position as a successful independent centre and the focus of Keynsham’s public life.”
The council was awarded £1.5 million, through the West of England Combined Authority, towards the cost of implementing the first phase of public realm improvements in June 2019 to help create a better retail environment, encourage an increase in footfall and support the local economy.
The public realm enhancements come on top of a range of future investment for the town, including £1.1 million received as part of the Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Programme.
This programme has been match-funded by Keynsham Town Council and B&NES Council and will follow on from this scheme, supporting further public realm improvements and sympathetic improvements to historic shopfronts alongside arts and community engagement.
The public realm improvements will be constructed in short sections, starting on the west side of the High Street outside the Methodist church, continuing towards Bath Hill, then on the east side travelling from Charlton Road to Bath Hill. The work is expected to take nine months.
The highway will only be restricted during the existing road closure, which is in place for social distancing, and will remain open unless a restriction is required by the construction programme.
At the times the High Street will need to be closed to all traffic, there will be a diversion around Ashton Way. These periods of closure will be announced and signed in advance so that people can plan their journeys.
Temporary disabled bays will be available outside HSBC Bank.
The contraflow cycle lane will be closed when works to upgrade it are carried out or when necessary for safety reasons.
The council and its contractor will be working with traders to minimise disruption and ensure access during trading hours. The council says the temporary traffic restriction order and construction works will not prevent customers or traders from accessing their premises.
To minimise the impact of the construction, the site welfare and storage will be situated in the closed Station Road overflow car park.
For more information on the plans and for construction updates, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/keynsham