Planning permission granted for ten council flats behind pub in centre of Keynsham

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The apartments will be built across two blocks behind the Old Bank pub

Ten flats are set to be built “right in the heart of Keynsham town centre” as planning permission has been granted for the next step in Bath and North East Somerset’s council housing building programme.

The ten apartments - which will all be social rented housing - will be built across two blocks behind the Old Bank pub, on council-owned land currently used as spare parking. Bath and North East Somerset Council’s planning committee voted on Wednesday May 8 to grant planning permission for the scheme, which is being developed by the council’s wholly-owned building company Aequus.

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Chris Beaver, agent for Aequus, told the committee: “The proposed homes will contribute towards meeting the council’s general housing land supply, but more importantly will meet a clear and acute need for affordable housing in Keynsham itself.”

At the time of submitting the application, there were over 700 people on the social housing waiting list in the town. But concerns were raised that residents of the new flats could face issues dealing with noise from the nearby pub.

Cllr Eleanor Jackson (Radstock, Labour) said: “What would happen if the residents of this new block were to find the proximity of the pub and the noise generated intolerable. Would that threaten, say, live music performances or the operation of said pub?”

Council officers said that residents would have to raise that later, but the noise for the new flats had been assessed as being acceptable. Acoustic glass is set to be used in the flats to reduce external noise.

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Cllr Hal McFie (Keynsham East, Liberal Democrat) added that a test around noise levels had been done. He said: “And they’ve gone on to say that when it’s built they will do the test again and prove that it is within the standard so I don’t think that they can do much more than that.”

Chair of the planning committee Ian Halsall (Oldfield Park, Liberal Democrat) said: “Its an awkward site and its great that we can see 100% affordable delivered right in the heart of Keynsham town centre. The design of the buildings seems to fit in quite well in the context. It’s very clear that the noise concerns have been overcome.”

Councillors on the committee voted to approve the plans.

Six of the flats, which will be built across two blocks, have one-bedroom and four will have two-bedrooms. Each block would be three storeys with pitched roofs and brick walls around the ground floor exterior. Parking would be located in an undercroft beneath block two, which would be set back from the road.

The council’s Liberal Democrat administration has named building more council houses as a priority for their administration.

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In 2023, Bath and North East Somerset Council welcomed tenants into its first council housing in more than twenty years : former offices in a villa on Newbridge Hill which were converted into flats. The council also recently converted two council properties in Bath into temporary accommodation.

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