A ground-breaking ceremony has been held to mark the start of work on St Monica Trust’s latest development at Keynsham.
The building of Block D will mark the completion of the Bristol-based charity’s £60m redevelopment of the former Cadbury’s factory at Somerdale which closed in 2011 when production was outsourced to Poland.
Built on the vacant land opposite the Somerdale Pavilion, that historically contained block D of the former factory, Block D will be a five-storey building offering 44 independent living apartments and operate at carbon net zero.
The 44 apartments will be a mix of one and two-beds, with 18 apartments being affordable housing units for residents nominated by Bath and North East Somerset Council. There will be off-street parking for cars and bikes, a new landscaped area for pedestrians between Block D and the Somerdale Pavilion, and a new entrance to the Pavilion car park off Trajectus Way.
The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by St Monica Trust’s chief executive David Williams and president of the board of trustees Tim Ross, along with residents and staff from The Chocolate Quarter Retirement Village, which opened in 2018.
David Williams said: “The building of Block D not only marks the completion of the trust’s redevelopment of the former Somerdale factory, but it also fulfils our original commitment to provide affordable housing for the local community, as we do at all our other retirement villages.
“The Chocolate Quarter was the first retirement village in the UK with facilities and services that were open to all. The fact that we can now extend that offering to include affordable housing is a wonderful way to further serve the local community, which has always made us feel so welcome.”
Tim Ross said: “This exciting redevelopment of the former Somerdale factory and the additional investment in Keynsham reflects our commitment to build communities where older people can flourish, alongside our promise to provide affordable housing.”
RED Construction Group’s South West division have been appointed to build Block D and completion is expected in September 2025. RED’s managing director Derek Quinn said: “We are delighted to be working with the St Monica Trust to deliver the last phase of this prestigious development that is sewn into the fabric of Bristol’s history.
“Not only that but providing much needed high-quality homes and care services to residents that require additional support. We are looking forward to delivering this community net zero carbon scheme and providing a lasting legacy for Keynsham.”
St Monica Trust’s original approved plan for Block D was a 24-unit, four-storey apartment block with shops on the ground floor but it revised the proposals after receiving no interest from national convenience retailers to open there.
Block C was converted into office accommodation when St Monica Trust bought the site. The Chocolate Quarter development is in blocks A and B and includes retirement apartments, a care home, GP surgery, and facilities open to the wider community including eateries, salons, a small cinema, pool and gym.