£50m plan for Somerdale site includes 700 homes, hotel and school
A NEW primary school, a hotel and 700 homes are included in a builder's £50-million plan for Keynsham's former chocolate factory.
The Evening Post has learned that Taylor Wimpey has bought the Somerdale site from American food company Kraft. The developer has told the Post details of its plans for the former Fry and Cadbury factory.
As well as the homes, school and hotel, the plans include a nursing home, restaurant and a new Fry Club.
Taylor Wimpey also confirmed that it will protect the existing sports fields, which were originally provided by the chocolate company for its workforce.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Earlier this week Kraft confirmed it had sold the Somerdale site but no details of the buyer were revealed.
It had been claimed the land was sold for £6 million but the Post understands that the final sale price was much higher.
Kraft Foods took over Cadbury two years ago following a bitter £11.5-billion bidding war. It had promised to save the Keynsham factory from the Cadbury board's closure plans and to protect the 400 jobs at the factory but reneged on its pledge within weeks of completing the deal.
The factory produced its last Curly Wurly in March of last year and production was moved to Poland.
Taylor Wimpey revealed details of its plans to the Post yesterday.
The developer confirmed it had agreed to buy 220-acre site on the outskirts of Keynsham, which is classified as brown-field land and therefore easier to secure planning permission for than a green-belt site, but would not reveal the price agreed with Kraft.
Consultations with Keynsham residents will be carried out before any final plans are published.
The 700 new homes are expected to include a wide range of properties from starter homes to family houses and retirement properties. The plans are also expected to include around 20,000 square metres set aside for business or commercial use.
Taylor Wimpey said there were plans for the popular Fry Club to be rebuilt, with the existing sports facilities, open spaces and woodland saved from development. The sports and social club, which has more than 600 members, also has 13 football pitches, four cricket pitches and a nine-hole golf course.
Nigel Holland, managing director of Taylor Wimpey in Bristol, said: "This redevelopment offers an exciting opportunity to create an attractive and integrated new quarter for Keynsham.
"The vision quite simply is to make the best use of the considerable assets on site and to add to these to provide an aspirational location for sustainable living and working, which provides for the needs of the local community.
"We have our own initial thoughts for what could be achieved but we are committed to working together with the local community and listening to people's ideas and opinions to ensure that what we create at Somerdale meets the needs of new and existing residents.
"Public consultation will form a major part of the planning process and the development of the scheme moving forward."
Mr Holland said: "The Cadbury factory was a significant landmark and we want to ensure that the buildings we create will continue to contribute to what is a distinctive part of Keynsham.
"We will be investing over £50 million in this scheme and will create a substantial number of new jobs, both during the construction phase and hopefully thereafter within the employment-use elements."
Taylor Wimpey said the first phase of the public consultation would start within a matter of weeks and a planning application would be submitted later in the year.
The building firm has been locked in talks with Kraft's agents BNP Paribas for several months and the deal was finally sealed just before Christmas.
The American-owned food firm had been criticised by local politicians for failing to keep local residents informed about its plans for the site.
Keynsham South Tory councillor Alan Hale said: "The continued uncertainty and lack of information surrounding the future of the Somerdale site is not good for Keynsham.
"This is an important site for our town and it is vital that residents are fully engaged in its future. There has been a general consultation about the future use of the site during the council's core strategy development process. However, as plans progress, residents should be given a greater say on more detailed ideas for the site."