Taylor Wimpey has won a concession from B&NES Council planners over the Somerdale redevelopment which could jeopardise plans to create 1000 new jobs on the site of the former Cadbury factory.
Last September the company was granted outline planning permission for a mixed use development of housing and employment as well as a school and care centre. Now, it has returned to the council with an application to vary one of the conditions attached to that permission in relation to the former factory buildings B and C.
Rather than refitting the office space ready for occupation by any new tenant, B&NES Development Control committee decided yesterday (Wednesday 15th January) to allow Taylor Wimpey to replace the external walls but only supply services to the edge of the buildings until such time as an occupier had been identified.
More concerning, the committee also agreed that if no tenant for the office space could been found within 5 years, Taylor Wimpey will instead make a financial contribution towards ‘delivery of employment off site’ and propose an alternative use for the buildings and land. Speaking during the debate, Keynsham North councillor Charles Gerrish urged the committee to add a stipulation that any alternative employment should be provided within Keynsham, but this was ignored.
On the same day as the committee heard the original planning application back in September, Taylor Wimpey announced that it had two major firms on the point of signing up to move into Somerdale, creating up to 650 jobs. Graham Donald, Business Risk Director for drinks firm Matthew Clark told members that his company’s relocation plans were urgent and any delay would rule Somerdale out of the equation.
Four months on, Mr Donald told The Week In that a move to Somerdale had not been ruled out. “No decision has been made as yet” he said. Keynsham is still under consideration as one of the possible sites.”