The Chocolate Quarter, Keynsham

Retirement Village

Development: Completed 2017 Location: Keynsham, Bristol Client: St Monica Trust

The Village comprises the refurbishment and conversion of Blocks A, B & C of the Former Cadbury’s Chocolate factory buildings in Keynsham.

The three factory buildings were originally the home of Fry’s Chocolate, and more latterly Cadburys, but were closed in 2011 by Kraft Foods when production of chocolate products ceased. The buildings were part of a site acquired by Taylor Wimpey and the original planning consent gave outline permission for use for housing and commercial/office use.

SMT purchased the site and we were appointed to develop a scheme to create a state-of-the-art non-gated open for the Care Village. This was achieved using SMT’s and our expertise and ideas drawn from their previous four care villages and using best practice and experience gained from visiting international projects of a similar scale and ethos.

The original proposal was to reduce the size of each factory block by half its size, however when considering the scheme, we saw the potential to retain more of the buildings, and eventually kept the whole of Block A and reduced the length of blocks B and C by around 25%.

The buildings were simple steel or concrete frames with solid brickwork and infill windows typical of factory buildings of the early 20th Century, however the scale of buildings and the possibility to provide a village with a mixed use community for our client.

The development comprises of three interconnected blocks:

Block A converted to provide a total of 106 apartments with two additional floors built off of the factory roof inset and finished in zinc cladding, a philosophy that continues across the development and identifying all of the new additions to the original buildings. A large two-storey atrium is provided on the western elevation.

Block B has been converted and extended at ground floor level to provide all the communal facilities including restaurant, bistro, bar, hairdressing, Barber shop, swimming pool, fitness centre, cinema, pottery, woodwork & arts studio, and chapel. A 93 Bedroom Care Home is accommodated over three floors and the additional top two floors housing a further 30 Apartments with a large glazed rooflight to the top floor.

Block C accommodates offices on the upper four floors and a Doctors Surgery at Ground Floor level. A podium deck to the Northern end of the site conceals an upper and lower basement level car parking.

Between blocks A and B rooftop terraces over the new links provide first floor gardens to the Care Home and Assisted Living apartments.

The Chocolate Quarter enjoys a commanding location in the heart of Keynsham and as SMT’s first intergenerational development is open to the local community and wider public. This project is one of the first of its type in the UK.

It has been a huge success for our client and was officially opened by HRH Princess Royal on the 13th April 2018 and has attracted both national and international interest and since been shortlisted for the 2018 Housing Design Awards.