[L-R: Councillor Kevin Guy, B&NES Council Leader; Dan Norris, West of England Metro Mayor; Andy Wait, Keynsham Town Council Chair]
Good news for motorists and shoppers in Keynsham with an announcement that the High Street will reopen on March 18 for all road users now that the public realm enhancement scheme is reaching the final stages of completion.
The scheme is part of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s investment in its High Streets and ambition to revitalise Keynsham town centre.
The enhancements comprise footpath widening and resurfacing, improved cycling and bus stop facilities, new street furniture, trees and planting and better signage on the High Street between Bath Hill and Charlton Road.
The council is currently completing final finishing and landscaping works. The resurfacing of the High Street will take place overnight enabled by a night-time closure of Bath Hill and Charlton Road.
The closures will be in place on Bath Hill from March 7 to March 9 between 7pm and 7am and at Charlton Rd from March 15 to March 17 between 7pm and 7am.
Diversion routes will be in place through the night and will be fully signed. The High Street will reopen for vehicles and people cycling following the resurfacing once inspections and handovers are complete.
Rock Road will be closed for three weeks from March 21 to enable developer Halsall to undertake essential sewer works for the new Alliance Homes affordable housing development. This had been delayed to prevent Rock Road being closed at the same time as the High Street.
The High Street scheme will allow traffic to flow more smoothly with a new bus stop layby allowing cars to pass waiting buses.
Blue badge holders will benefit from three parking spaces with dropped kerbs, enabling wheelchair access to the pavement. Four short stay spaces have also been retained.
Space for deliveries and church ceremonial vehicle access has also been improved. Two loading bays have been incorporated in the scheme and layout of the Charlton Road junction has been designed with church services in mind.
The second phase of the public realm improvement scheme will be to enhance Temple Street as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone
Councillor Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “I was delighted to be able to assist with planting to mark the nearing of completion of our work on Keynsham High Street. Investment has enhanced the environment with better footpaths, cycling and bus stop facilities, nicer street furniture, better streetlights, landscaping and trees.
“Alongside this the High Street Heritage Action Zone’s improvement project is also under way with improvements to Temple Street and shopfront design grants due to deliver improvements next year. It’s also been fantastic to see the High Street cultural programme launch in Keynsham, with the support of local community and cultural organisations.
“It’s an exciting time in the regeneration of the town as all the investment is providing better amenities for Keynsham, supported by much-needed town centre housing at Rock Road.
“We are grateful for people’s patience throughout the works. It is unfortunate that sewer works for a housing development in Rock Road will mean another road closure, however we have been assured by the developer their work will be completed in three weeks.”
Once the High Street is reopened, the former one-way system through Keynsham will be reinstated. Motorists are asked to take care whilst driving as the High Street reopens to vehicles.
Traffic will be able to travel southbound between Charlton Road to Bath Hill with a dedicated contraflow cycle lane travelling northbound. As part of the reopening, marshals will be on hand to assist pedestrians, cyclists and motorists for the first few days after the one-way system reopens.
During the Wessex Water sewer works at Rock Road which are due to begin on March 21 for three weeks, traffic heading to Keynsham town centre from the Saltford direction will be diverted via the A4 Keynsham bypass to Hicks Gate roundabout and then back towards the town along Durley Hill. Rock Road between Temple Street and The Labbott will be closed. Ashton Way will remain open for access to properties and carparks via Charlton Road only.
More information on diversion routes, car park access and bus stop access will be communicated next week.
The High Street public realm 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 West of England Metro Mayor, Dan Norris, visited the High Street yesterday to view the progress of the High Street works at the Bath Hill Gateway, alongside the council and Keynsham Town Council.
Dan Norris said: “Our High Streets need to be the very heart of our community, serving as an illustration of the pride people have in the local area. I know the closure of Keynsham High Street has been frustrating for local people and hard-pressed businesses, but I am relieved we now appear to be in the final stretch of this delayed project. When it’s been completed, I know local people will want to enjoy a more vibrant and busy Keynsham high street, one that is fit for the future that and one that remains crucial to the community.”
Andy Wait, Chair of Keynsham Town Council said: “The businesses in the High Street have endured a lot of difficulties in the last few years, starting with significant road works, followed by Covid and then the disruption leading to our wonderfully exciting, improved High Street. Thank you to those people who, for the most part, have endured these disruptions with good grace. I hope now that we can embrace the new opportunities that this improvement will bring, as well as have a period of calm and growth. Please support the High Street, in this way, our town will once more have a first class range of shops and services.”
As part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone, in November 2020 the council invited bids from artists and organisations for up to £2,000 from the Small Grants Local Cultural Programme to run cultural events the first of the Cultural Programme activities were held over February half term with activities for families, markets and live music held.
Up to £223,000 has also been dedicated to give property owners, leaseholders and tenants the opportunity to bid for a grant to improve the condition of their properties’ shopfronts. A minimum of eight shopfronts will be improved as part of the scheme.