Plans to convert council’s old office block into 100+ homes

The old Riverside offices on Temple Street in Keynsham could be turned into over 100 flats following an application lodged with B&NES Council by the current owners of the building.

The application lodged with the council is to determine whether planning permission would be required for the transformation of office space into residential or whether the work could be carried out under what is known as ‘permitted development’. The Town & Country Planning Act makes provision for certain works to be completed without the need to obtain planning permission from the local authority and in the case of the Riverside, it is the fact that much of building has stood empty since B&NES vacated.

The plans do not affect the retail units on the ground floor but would turn the first to fourth floors into 17 studios, 40 one-bedroom, 33 two-bedroom and 17 three-bedroom flats. The application has been lodged on behalf of Episo 3 Tree Properties, a company based in Luxembourg, care of Addington Capital, the London-based asset management company which purchased Riverside from the receivers when the previous owner went bust.

While B&NES Council owns the freehold, the Riverside complex is subject to a long lease, previously held by property company Topland. In 2013 B&NES made provision to pursue a compulsory purchase order on the building if necessary.

Transport consultants engaged by the applicants have stated that the building would generate less traffic in residential use than it would as a full office and the lower level of the Civic Centre car park, which is no longer available to the council to use, would provide more space than is required under current planning regulations.

The proposed footprint of the development

The proposed footprint of the development

The plan also potentially scuppers one of the options put forward by B&NES last month as one of the three locations identified for the new leisure.  Although, as we now know, all the plans presented in the consultation were only ‘diagrammatic’, the option for a new facility at the Riverside was clearly shown fronting Temple Street.




B&NES' proposal for a new leisure centre

B&NES’ proposal for a new leisure centre







Consultation on the application is open until 18th November and the planning application reference is 15/04723/ODCOU.