As planned works to Keynsham High Street reach the final phase, West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris planted a tree to mark a major milestone in the project.
Mr Norris joined Bath and North East Somerset councillors Kevin Guy and Andy Wait to contribute to the planting of a landscaping section at the Bath Hill junction. Mr Norris said it was a privilege to mark this important moment and play a part in creating a green legacy for future generations.
The High Street public realm scheme is funded by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth and Getting Building Funds, administered by the West of England Combined Authority. It is also funded by the Combined Authority through its Love our High Streets programme.
The scheme will see permanent improvements to the area, including footpath widening and resurfacing, improved cycling and bus stop facilities. There will also be new street furniture, trees and planting, and better signage on the High Street between Bath Hill and Charlton Road.
Dan Norris, West of England Metro Mayor, said: “Our High streets need to be the very heart of our community, serving as an illustration of the pride people have in the local area. I know the closure of Keynsham High Street has been frustrating for local people and hard-pressed businesses, but I am relieved we now appear to be in the final stretch of this delayed project. When it’s been completed, I know local people will want to enjoy a more vibrant and busy Keynsham high street, one that is fit for the future that and one that remains crucial to the community”.
Keynsham High Street is expected to reopen on 18 March for all road users. The High Street scheme will allow traffic to flow more smoothly with a new bus stop layby allowing cars to pass waiting buses. Blue badge holders will benefit from three parking spaces with dropped kerbs, enabling wheelchair access to the pavement. Four short stay spaces have also been retained.
Space for deliveries and church ceremonial vehicle access has also been improved. Two loading bays have been incorporated in the scheme and layout of the Charlton Road junction has been designed with church services in mind.
Councillor Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “I was delighted to be able to assist with planting to mark the nearing of completion of our work on Keynsham High Street. Investment has enhanced the environment with better footpaths, cycling and bus stop facilities, nicer street furniture, better streetlights, landscaping and trees.
“Alongside this the High Street Heritage Action Zone’s improvement project is also under way with improvements to Temple Street and shopfront design grants due to deliver improvements next year. It’s also been fantastic to see the High Street cultural programme launch in Keynsham, with the support of local community and cultural organisations.
“It’s an exciting time in the regeneration of the town as all the investment is providing better amenities for Keynsham, supported by much-needed town centre housing at Rock Road.”
Once the High Street is reopened, the former one-way system through Keynsham will be reinstated. Motorists are asked to take care whilst driving as the High Street reopens to vehicles.
Traffic will be able to travel southbound between Charlton Road to Bath Hill with a dedicated contraflow cycle lane travelling northbound. As part of the reopening, marshals will be on hand to assist pedestrians, cyclists and motorists for the first few days after the one-way system reopens.
Andy Wait, Chair of Keynsham Town Council said: “The businesses in the High Street have endured a lot of difficulties in the last few years, starting with significant road works, followed by Covid and then the disruption leading to our wonderfully exciting, improved High Street. Thank you to those people who, for the most part, have endured these disruptions with good grace. I hope now that we can embrace the new opportunities that this improvement will bring, as well as have a period of calm and growth. Please support the High Street, in this way, our town will once more have a first-class range of shops and services.”