Date published: 2023-02-24 | Category: parks, Regeneration and Development, Leisure
A replacement footbridge over the weir in Keynsham Memorial Park will be installed this summer as part of a range of improvements to the area.
Bath & North East Somerset Council will start works on Monday (February 27) to demolish the existing bridge ahead of building the new superstructure, after planning applications for the demolition and new superstructure were approved this week.
Signs have already gone up at the park to notify residents and visitors of the works. The smaller children’s playpark at Bath Hill will close from February 27 and the entrance at Avon Mill Lane will also be closed.
The demolition is expected to be completed in mid-April before the new bridge is installed ahead of opening in summer 2023.
The bridge will be constructed off-site before being built on the existing supports and is made of a polymer that is resilient to damp river environments, providing longevity. A contractor to install the bridge will be appointed in early March.
The existing bridge was closed to the public in October 2019 when a visual inspection found it was unsafe, due to deterioration of the timber glulam beams forming the superstructure.
Alongside calls for a new bridge, a public survey about Keynsham Memorial Park carried out by the council in spring 2022 also identified localised flooding under Echo Bridge as a high priority for improvement at the park. Works will begin to address the issue this year.
Residents and visitors also expressed interest for an indoor or covered café space, improved natural landscape and better play facilities for all ages. These will be explored as long-term improvements during 2023 and 2024.
The Keynsham Memorial Park Discovery and Understanding Survey showed the top five reasons for using the park were enjoying nature, exercise, a place to meet others, children’s play and to have lunch or a picnic. The survey report can be viewed here
Councillor David Wood, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “The installation of the new bridge is the first step in a range of improvements for Keynsham Memorial Park over the next two years. We know that it has been inconvenient for people while the existing bridge has been closed, so it’s excellent news that we can now go ahead and replace this important link in the pedestrian route around the park.
“During the first few weeks of work there will be some disruption as the site is set up and materials are delivered, so we are grateful for your patience while the works are carried out.
“Thank you to the residents and visitors who responded to our survey to let us know how you think the park can be enhanced for the future. We are acting on the top priorities and will begin work on a solution to the flooding under Echo Bridge this year. We will also explore a range of other suggestions in the long-term including a covered café space, greater biodiversity and improved play equipment.”
The schedule of works is subject to flooding of the River Chew and conditions remaining safe for contractors to work in the river.
Councillor Andy Wait, Chair of Keynsham Town Council, said: “I am aware of the large amount of work that has gone on to get to this point and would like to thank the users of Memorial Park for their patience whilst the bridge was out of action.”
The planning application for the replacement footbridge can be viewed here.