Local People’s views on Keynsham High Street trial released.

Bath & North East Somerset Council would like to thank residents, shoppers, workers and businesses for giving their views on the experimental one-way trial on Keynsham High Street.

A total of 1,559 responses were received to the public survey questionnaire, one of the highest responses received in any recent Council consultation in Bath and North East Somerset. Out of this, 53% of respondents stated they thought the one-way trial should be continued in its current form or with specified improvements, while 8% were unsure or had no opinion, 39% of respondents thought the one-way trial should not continue.

Last year, the Council launched a one-way trial through the centre of Keynsham. This approach was in response to public consultation on the Council’s Placemaking Plan and the Keynsham Transport Strategy which recognised local people’s desire to reduce traffic on the high street and improve the pedestrian experience.

The purpose of the trial was to evaluate whether a one-way high street could work in terms of traffic around the town centre, and to consult the public and businesses on their views.

Between January and March 2018, the Council interviewed businesses, conducted on-street surveys and spoke to stakeholders about the Keynsham High Street experimental one-way trial. An online survey also ran alongside this.

In addition to over 1,500 people completing the survey questionnaire either online, on street or at the library, over 100 businesses (80% of businesses in the town centre) returned a business survey about the trial. Workshops were held with the Accessibility and Active Travel Forum and the Keynsham Neighbourhood Plan group. The full suite of consultation results are published on the Council’s website, and can be found here: www.bathnes.gov.uk/keynsham

At the Keynsham Town Council meeting of 20 February, Councillors resolved that the overall impact on the environment was positive; that the trial be extended to conduct further air quality and footfall monitoring (both are now underway); and suggested highway design changes are addressed if the scheme were to be made permanent. A full transcript can be found here: http://www.keynsham-tc.gov.uk/Core/Keynsham-Town-Council/Pages/Minutes_1.aspx

Some of the main positives of the experiment were noted as: improved environment, atmosphere and safety and ease of use for pedestrians. Issues noted included: congestion, road layout and business related concerns.

Monitoring data published as part of the consultation on the trial showed a clear improvement in air quality, with reductions of 22-47% during the period of the trial, the highest reduction can be seen on the High Street itself. All locations surveyed the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide are now below the national high risk level.

Cllr Mark Shelford (Conservative, Lyncombe) Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment said: “We’d like to thank everyone who has given us their views on the High Street.  We’ll be studying the feedback we’ve received carefully and looking at the impact the trial has had on air quality, traffic, footfall and parking before making a decision on its future.  In the meantime we’ll continue to monitor air quality and pedestrian movement in and around the town.”

Cllr Paul Myers (Conservative, Midsomer Norton) Cabinet Member for Economy said: “Through the Business Survey, we have heard from retailers within Keynsham who are concerned about falling trade in the town centre. It’s important to listen to the business community and we recognise that high streets across the UK are suffering.  Improving the quality and environment in the town centre is necessary to maintain Keynsham as a destination in the long term future and ensure that the town is positioned to adapt to changes in the way that people spend their time. Without cutting traffic through the High Street it will be difficult to bring in additional funding to improve the town centre environment.”

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Members are due to make a decision in Summer 2018 about the future of the High Street, and whether further investment will be sought for Keynsham Town centre.

Original press release by Bath & North East Somerset Council: