Keynsham Memorial Park’s new bridge to open in summer

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 was due to start work on February 27 to remove the existing bridge after planning applications for the demolition and new superstructure were approved.

Signs have gone up at the park to notify residents and visitors of the works. The smaller children’s play park at Bath Hill was due to close from February 27 and the entrance at Avon Mill Lane is also being closed.

The demolition is due to be completed in mid-April before the new bridge is installed ahead of opening in the summer.

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 was due to be appointed in early March.

The existing bridge was closed to the public in October 2019 when it was found to be unsafe, due to deterioration of timber beams.

Alongside calls for a new bridge, a public survey about Keynsham Memorial Park carried out by B&NES Council last spring also identified flooding under Echo Bridge as a high priority for improvement at the park. Works to address the issue will start 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.

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.”

The schedule of works is subject to any flooding of the River Chew and conditions remaining safe for contractors.

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.”