Campaigners lose battle to stop homes being built on Thornbury’s north side

September 29 2017

OPPONENTS of a controversial plan to build more houses on the north side of Thornbury lost their fight against the scheme when council planners narrowly gave it the go-ahead.

OPPONENTS of a controversial plan to build more houses on the north side of Thornbury lost their fight against the scheme when council planners narrowly gave it the go-ahead.

The controversial outline application for land west of Gloucester Road was originally for 180 homes. 

It was later reduced to 130 but was still fought by the town council, individual objectors and the organisation Trapp’d - Thornbury Residents Against Poorly Planned Development.

However, South Gloucestershire Council planning officers recommended allowing the application to go ahead and development control committee members voted 5-4 in favour, with two abstentions.

Trapp’d said the decision was a blow after it had challenged many aspects of the council officers’ reports.

It also pledged to “continue to fight against poorly planned developments”, which was its aim when the action group was formed.

Thornbury Town Council had said the site was outside the development boundary and was a further example of “speculative and unplanned development” which would result in “a significant and unsustainable percentage increase” in the local population.

It said it was unfair that the town, which had already accepted enough new development to meet its housing needs, was being asked to accommodate even more homes to meet South Gloucestershire’s five-year housing land supply requirement.

Thornbury councillor Clare Fardell said the site was not in a sustainable location and drew attention to the walking distances to local services and facilities, which were considered to be “excessive”. 

She said nearly all town centre facilities were more than a mile from the site, with only the Anchor pub within reasonable walking distance.

She said the proposal went against the core strategy development blueprint, there were concerns about drainage problems and worries about road safety due to the site access proposed.

Councillor Fardell also said the housing would lead to increased traffic congestion within the town and along the A38, while only limited weight had been given to the effect of the development on grade two listed buildings in Upper Morton.

But Erica Williams, the council’s executive member for housing delivery, spoke in support of the proposal.

She said a preference was expressed for plan-led development but speculative

applications had to be given careful consideration given that the council could not demonstrate that it had a five-year housing land supply.