River Avon at heart of redevelopment hopes

new marinaPlans for a new 306-berth leisure marina in Keynsham were unveiled to people in the town last week.

The “seven-figure” scheme for a site at Broad Mead, just along the river from Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park, has been drawn up by NextPhase Development on behalf of the landowner, a local farmer.

The managing director of Staffordshire-based NextPhase, Chris Whitehouse, who was presenting the plans to the public in Keynsham High Street, said that he had “not had a single negative comment” from the many people who had stopped to look at the information boards and talk about the scheme.

Mr Whitehouse said that a planning application would be lodged with Bath & North East Somerset Council in the autumn.

He said the scheme would benefit the Keynsham economy by boosting spending locally and creating employment. There would be signposts from the new marina to the town centre and to local tourism attractions including the Bristol & Bath Railway Path and Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park.

Mr Whitehouse will be making a presentation to Keynsham Town Council on October 8.

Keynsham already has the Portavon Marina, near the Lock Keeper pub, which provides moorings for up to 100 narrow boats and cruisers.

Coincidentally a blueprint to create hundreds of jobs, homes and a new marina for Keynsham and give the town a “significant role” in the West of England was unveiled at the weekend. The economic regeneration scheme for the Broadmead Peninsula has been drawn up by the River Regeneration Trust. The trust superseded the River Corridor Group, which was established by B&NES in 2010 to provide advice on how the economic, social, cultural and environmental potential of the 30km stretch of the River Avon from Dundas to Hanham might be unlocked.

The Broadland Peninsula includes some land currently in the Green Belt, Keynsham Sewage Treatment Works, the Broadmead Lane Industrial Estate and Avon Valley Wildlife and Adventure Park.

The land improvement scheme  includes up to 355 houses, micro businesses, a marina for more than 450 boats, a constructed wetland, houseboats and holiday homes, an aquatic centre and visitor attractions.

The council’s River and Canal Champion Cllr Dave Laming (Independent, Lambridge), who founded the River Corridor Group, said: “We have established key relationships with Wessex Water, the Canal and River Trust, the Kennet &Avon Canal Trust and Curo Homes, together with Memoranda of Understanding with major Broadmead Peninsula landowners.

“These partnerships, together with the allocation of £100,000 from the council for river corridor regeneration, mean the Trust can now concentrate on using the river to help Keynsham reclaim hundreds of the jobs lost by the closure of Cadbury’s, and add to the 1,000 promised by Taylor Wimpey at Somerdale.”

Taylor Wimpey is just one of the housebuilders that the Trust is talking to about the potential of the peninsula.

Cllr Paul Crossley, leader of the council, said: “Our long-term ambition is for Keynsham to have a significant role in the wider West of England. This will be an exciting place to live, work and be entertained. The Cabinet and I look forward to receiving the study.”