Funding to future proof Keynsham by making the High Street more attractive and accessible was approved at the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA) Joint Committee last Friday, 14th June.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has secured £1.5 million towards the cost of the scheme from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund (LGF), administered by WECA.
The investment will help to deliver the first phase of permanent improvements to the public space between Charlton Road and Rock Road, building on the introduction of the one-way system which has already improved air quality in the town centre.
A further round of consultation on the details of the design will take place later this year, with work on the improvements expected to begin in spring 2020 and be completed by winter 2020.
The planned improvements include:
- High quality smooth paving, along with further widening of pavements to support existing businesses and encourage more shoppers.
- The introduction of a distinct and coordinated suite of street furniture, which will include seating, litter bins, cycle hoops, bollards, signage and trees to make visiting the town a more pleasant experience.
- An enhanced bus stop on the High Street that will offer more seating and be repositioned to allow cars to pass when a bus is stopped.
- Upgrades to the signal controlled crossings on Charlton Road and at the top of Bath Hill. Changes to pedestrian crossings and improvements to clearly segregate the cycle contra flow lane to maximise safety and improve ease of use, particularly for people with disabilities.
- New lighting in the passageways to improve the links between the High Street to Ashton Way and Memorial Park.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles, said: “We’re really pleased to support these improvements, through the Local Growth Fund, which aim to enhance the accessibility of Keynsham High Street, revitalise the town centre, boost trade for local businesses and increase employment opportunities.
“This will complement the work we are doing through our Love Our High Streets initiative to revitalise town centres across the West of England.”
Councillor Dine Romero, Bath & North East Somerset Council Leader, said: “This project forms part of our ongoing commitment to invest in our town centres and help support local businesses and I’m delighted the West of England Joint Committee has approved this essential funding.
“It will help us to build on the improvements we’ve already made in the town with the creation of new homes at Riverside and the refurbishment of the Leisure Centre.
“Keynsham’s High Street provides a focal point for local residents and by creating a more pleasant environment we hope to encourage more people to experience what the town has to offer.”
Professor Steve West, Chair of the West of England LEP, said: “This is a great opportunity to enhance the appeal of Keynsham for shoppers, visitors and workers – making it easier and more attractive for people to check out what the town offers.
“It’s brilliant that we can help make this ambition become a reality through the Local Growth Fund.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council will be presenting a partnership proposal to Keynsham Town Council for consideration at its June Council meeting, to use the award of funding by WECA’s Joint Committee as a catalyst for additional grant funding.
This would involve the two partners building on the developing Shop Front Design guide being produced by the emerging Keynsham Neighbourhood Development Plan, and preparing a joint funding bid to the national ‘Heritage High Streets Fund’, to undertake further improvements on the High Street including work to improve shopfronts and complementary improvements to linking routes and public spaces around Keynsham’s churches.