A £1.1m cash boost to help refresh Keynsham High Street, enhance its historic identity and retain its status as a conservation area has been formally agreed by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The council’s cabinet members accepted a slice of the £95m High Streets Heritage Action Zones fund from Historic England in a joint member decision.
The council was successful in winning two funding bids from this Historic England fund, Midsomer Norton and Keynsham, with 68 projects receiving funding nationally, and only eight other successful projects being earmarked for funding in the South West.
The Keynsham High Street Heritage Action Zone is formed of the Upper High Street, the main High Street and Temple Street.
Keynsham Town Council has committed match funding for these improvements totalling of £40,000 over four years, as well as a range of non-financial support.
The Historic England funding will enable further public realm works, improvements to shop fronts and development of a cultural programme supporting the development of a cultural programme to help create a more vibrant high street environment. It is part of a group of projects, valued at £3.6milllion, that seek to rejuvenate Keynsham High Street which include the enhancements to the core High Street.
The core High Street scheme includes footpath decluttering, widening and resurfacing, better signage, cycling and bus stop facilities and new seating, street lights, landscaping and trees.
Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “The heritage of Bath and North East Somerset spans far wider than Bath itself and important towns like Keynsham add to the richness of our communities. Thank you to our partners who have put a great deal of effort into putting together a comprehensive bid. I am delighted to have agreed the funding so that the scheme can get underway as soon as possible.”
The High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative is funded with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. A further £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme.
The bid to Historic England for Keynsham was made in partnership with the Town Council and supported by Keynsham Neighbourhood Development Plan and local civic, community and business groups.
The portfolio of projects for Keynsham’s overall public realm improvement scheme is also supported by the West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets funding and Local Growth Fund, which formed the match funding for this latest successful funding bid.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “I created and invested in the Love our High Streets programme to transform our town centres and give them a renewed vigour, ensuring our high streets remain the anchors of our local communities. It’s great news that Bath & North East Somerset Council has been awarded funding by Historic England to invest in Keynsham.”
Councillor Andy Wait, chair of Keynsham Town Council, said: “We are committed to supporting Keynsham’s transition to a 21st century town and develop its unique identity further. The national decline for town centres and high streets is certainly something we’ve seen in Keynsham, but we have an active and engaged community to take this new project forward and wholeheartedly welcome this injection of new life into the town.”
The joint member decision can be viewed here
For more information on High Street Heritage Action Zones visit: https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/regenerating-historic-high-streets/
Full details of WECA’s Love Our High Streets initiative can be found here