B&NES Council and builders Willmott Dixon invited members of the public to a progress meeting last week, held in the site offices perched high over the Civic Centre site. It was an exemplary exercise in maintaining relationships with local residents and one which Taylor Wimpey would do well to learn from as it progresses its own plans around the town. From the vantage point on the top floor of the Riverside West building, it was clear to see that the site was now almost completely flattened and work commencing on the footings for the new development. Pumping work had just begun to divert the foul water sewer which crosses the river.
The archaeologists were still on site but Project Manager John Folly showed images of some of the discoveries which had been made. While it was hoped to find relics from the middle ages, similar to those in Temple Street a few years earlier, to date they had found cellars, an oven, staircase and a cesspit, all of which were Victorian. The most interesting find was the time capsule, buried in the foundations of the previous Town Hall building in 1964 (see page **). The general opinion from the archaeology team was that a lot of material was probably destroyed during that development.
Mr Folly announced that, in addition to adding signs to the site hoardings to promote use of Temple Street, a podium would soon be erected to promote individual businesses. He also said that a conscious decision had been take not to set up a site canteen so that workers (140 at its peak) would be encouraged to use the nearby shops.
As to the timetable it was planned to re-open the multi storey car park in September. The Civic Centre and One Stop Shop are scheduled to open in late summer 2014 with the retail and offices ready for occupation in October. The next public progress meeting will take place in June and you can find out more from www.bathnes.gov.uk/keynshamregeneration