David Belotti, Cabinet Member for Community Resources at BANES, enthusiastically told members of the public how excited he was with the continuing development of the Keynsham Regeneration Project . Last Wednesday, at the latest public open evening , he said that although not initially convinced by the benefits of the scheme, after taking into account local people’s comments and the improvements to cladding and windows, he now feels the £34million project is taking shape in a positive manner.
The Centre will include three blocks containing offices and 12 shops. At present however, Mr Belotti was not able to name them. The shops will include national retailers, as well as local trades people. The Council is on the verge of signing contracts with a large retailer, who at present doesn’t have a shop in Keynsham.
Derek Quilter, Divisional Director of Project Management for BANES explained what had been achieved to date. This included demolition of existing structures plus archaeology excavation works which have now been completed. Drainage and utility services to the main block have also been completed.
The Civic Centre Car Park will be partially re-opened this Autumn with final completion of the project 12 months later. As people will see as they walk through Keynsham High Street, a large crane is now in place and Mr Belotti commented that once this happens it means things really start to move, as the crane costs so much to operate.
Generally it was felt that Willmott Dixon staff have been extremely helpful and polite when dealing with the community and put the safety of the public first. Other contractors had been considered for the project but because of Willmott Dixon’s positive reputation and their helpful attitude BANES decided they were the most suitable company for the job.
When Council workers move to their new offices, it is estimated the energy and maintenance costs will be cut by as much as £200,000 per annum. There will not be a canteen at the new offices and it is hoped that staff will use facilities and shops in the town for meals and shopping.