Controversial housing plan for open fields to be determined at public inquiry

December 19 2017

DEVELOPERS have lodged an appeal to get a decision taken on one of Thornbury’s controversial housing plans.

DEVELOPERS have lodged an appeal to get a decision taken on one of Thornbury’s controversial housing plans.

Bovis Homes and members of the Fear family requested a public inquiry to determine their application to build up to 370 houses off Gloucester Road on the north side of the town.

The outline proposal involves building across nearly 60 acres (24 hectares) of agricultural land stretching from Upper Morton to Crossways Lane at The Knapp, taking development further out of the town into the countryside towards Whitfield alongside the B4061.

A planning inspector will now hold an inquiry on a date to be fixed after the appeal was submitted against South Gloucestershire Council’s non-determination of the application within an agreed period.

In documents related to the appeal, the date given for the submission of the planning application to the council was mid-April 2017 and it was registered by the council in mid-May.

Thornbury Town Council, which is opposing the plan, recently expressed concerns about the time being taken to consider the application and “the risk of the applicant appealing through non-determination, which would be the worst possible outcome”.

The town council said if the development was allowed to proceed, it would cause “significant harm to the local community which cannot be mitigated”.

Opposition to the estate has also come from the Campaign to Protect Rural England and local pressure group TRAPP’D - Thornbury Residents Against Poorly Planned Development.

TRAPP’D is worried about extra traffic that would be generated by the development, the inability of roads to cope with such an increase, flood risks and the pressure so many new homes already being built were putting on the town’s GP surgeries, schools and sewerage systems.

It also claimed the development would cause “substantial harm” and destroy the setting of Upper Morton.

As well as the housing, the scheme also includes a community building, allotments, play areas and a country park, with two primary access roads created off Gloucester Road.

The inquiry could last for eight days, with the appellants set to claim there would be no adverse effects arising from the development that would significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the scheme.

* The inquiry is the second to take place to decide the fate of large scale housing schemes in Thornbury. Welbeck Strategic Land wants to build up to 350 homes at Cleve Park and an inquiry will take place in March after the scheme was rejected by South Gloucestershire planners.