South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet has approved the Kingswood Masterplan, a key strategic document which outlines plans to deliver a range of improvements to enhance Kingswood and invest in its future.
The masterplan sets out a shared future vision for the town and identifies a programme of interventions to realise this vision. It aims to maintain a distinctive and high-quality network of streets, inclusive public spaces, and mixed-use development and aspires to provide a resilient and adaptable low carbon and sustainable environment. Now that the masterplan has been formally approved, its priorities and actions will be used to help shape future planning, transport, and other policies where relevant.
In development since Summer 2019, the masterplan has been subject to ongoing engagement with people in the area alongside formal consultation. This includes the council taking over a shop unit in the Kings Chase Shopping Centre where people could view the proposals and contribute their observations and suggestions. The final shared vision for Kingswood has been formulated incorporating the views of over 2000 residents and stakeholders and captures the desires of the community along with the needs of the area.
The recently approved Kingswood Town Council will also play a significant role in the masterplan work, helping to build on Kingswood’s civic pride and giving the community a stronger local voice.
Key elements of the shared regeneration vision for the town include the pedestrianisation of Regent Street (East), improved accessibility and public transport facilities, a new leisure centre in the heart of the neighbourhood, the restoration of the historic Whitfield Tabernacle, and improvements to local parks and green spaces and their connections.
The Kings Chase Shopping Centre, which was purchased by South Gloucestershire Council in May 2021, is also a key element of the plan. The facility will accommodate the new leisure centre, with the overall site providing an improved commercial and leisure offer within the community and potentially a new residential use too.
A decision was also made by the Cabinet to introduce free parking at the shopping centre, bringing it in line with South Gloucestershire’s longstanding policy of providing free parking in all council-owned car parks.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure Cllr Steve Reade said: “I am delighted that we have been able to bring forward this masterplan for Kingswood which captures a shared vision to invest in a more resilient, successful and inclusive town centre. It’s important that we work closely with the community to plan for the future so I’m very pleased that such a large number of local people, business owners and other groups have enthusiastically contributed.
“These plans help unlock a number of initiatives that will bring improvements to Kingswood for years to come. The pedestrianisation of Regent Street will bring an enhanced experience for shoppers and visitors and will help improve air quality. Improved streets and public spaces, along with a more diverse mix of retail, leisure, health facilities and places to live and work will make it a more attractive destination. Better accessibility and public transport connections will help people travel to the area and get around to enjoy all that Kingswood has and will come to offer.
“The town has a rich heritage, which is built into the local streets and landscape, and we want to preserve and enhance this by ensuring historic buildings are maintained and conserved. As part of this, the restoration of the historically important Whitfield Tabernacle is already underway and once complete the building will become available for public use.
“Kingswood already has some wonderful parks and open spaces and by enhancing them and bettering their connectivity we will add further value to these much-loved community areas.”
The Kingswood Masterplan was approved by South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet at their meeting on 4 April. The Cabinet report is available by visiting https://council.southglos.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=134&MId=15748
For more information about the Kingswood Masterplan visit www.southglos.gov.uk/kingswoodmasterplan