Overall, it is hoped that the retirement community, together with additional office and employment space, will lead to the creation of 1,000 job opportunities. Retail outlets are planned, and other community facilities may include a restaurant, leisure suite, hairdressing salon, pharmacy and a GP surgery. The cost of the project is put at £60m.
Luke Freeman, joint chief executive of the M F Freeman Group, said today: “After purchasing the site last year we are delighted to have obtained planning consent for the redevelopment of these landmark buildings and secured their future beneficial use.
“Our relationship with the St Monica Trust is based upon sharing our vision of delivering a high quality mixed use scheme, which preserves more of the original buildings and maintains the integrity of the heritage of this iconic site.”
The St Monica Trust is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and the Keynsham site will be the fifth retirement village developed by the not-for-profit organisation founded by Henry and Monica Wills in 1925 which specialises in care, accommodation and support for older people.
Chief executive of the trust, David Williams, said: “Maintaining the heritage and rich history of such iconic buildings is very important to the trust. Our founding Cote Lane site is a Grade II listed building and our most recent development at Sandford Station retained all of the site’s original railway buildings, which means we have a strong track record in that respect.”
The former Cadbury’s factory buildings were constructed in the 1930s and are part of the wider Somerdale development on the site being developed by Taylor Wimpey. The housebuilder’s plans include 700 new homes, plus a new Fry Club and Conference Centre, a primary school and nursery, shops and sports pitches.
Adrian Slade, Somerdale project director for Taylor Wimpey, said: “We are pleased that the former Cadbury’s factory buildings are being brought back into beneficial use. The fact that the St Monica Trust are developing alongside us is an indication of the quality and vision Somerdale offers, whilst providing a valuable facility for the local community, complementing our redevelopment of the wider Somerdale site.”
North East Somerset MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “It is excellent news for Keynsham both that the Cadbury’s buildings will be retained and that the St Monica Trust will be providing supported living for older people. It is a wonderful charity with a first class infrastructure that will provide a superb service to the community in a symbolically important building.”
A show flat and sales office for the new retirement community will open in late autumn of this year, with work on the site due to be completed in spring 2017.
To register an interest in the retirement complex, call the St Monica Trust on 0117 949 4004 or visit their website.
The Cadbury’s factory shut in 2011 with the loss of hundreds of jobs, when production was moved to Poland.