Accessible and Vibrant High Streets

Keynsham Market Town Centre

Clients: Keynsham Town Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES)

Design for inclusive, attractive and safe streets and spaces is at the heart of our support to communities, councils and place-makers, building on our team’s experience since the 1980s in London, Bristol, Bath, Somerset and the Midlands. This collaborative approach, bringing together local people and professionals, applies as much to spaces in small towns, even villages, as to larger towns and cities.

Since 2017, the Place Studio team have been working with Keynsham Town Council and the B&NES Highways and Regeneration teams to re-establish the town’s historic high street as an attractive and welcoming community hub. This project is separate from but is linked to and supports Keynsham’s emerging Neighbourhood Plan.

A robust programme of engagement underpinned the design process, combining large on-line, on-street and drop-in events with in-depth outreach with local forums, faith communities, young, senior and disabled people, transport users and business. Joint workshops bringing together councillors, officers, shopkeepers and community representatives used the outcomes of the engagement to set the project’s priorities.

The design is a canvas for future vitality, balancing a complex range of community aspirations, regulatory requirements and heritage drivers within the practical constraints of a given budget.  It prioritises accessibility, comfort and safety, responding to residents and businesses, encouraging green travel but accommodating cars, stimulating formal and informal community interaction with widened pavements, new seating and investment in frontage church spaces, tranquil gardens and event spaces.

The design has now secured £2m delivery funding from the West of England’s LEP and also enabled the high street to secure Heritage Action Status from Historic England. Phase 1 is now scheduled to commence during 2020.