Inspector rejects plans for 370 homes

May 17 2019
Inspector rejects plans for 370 homes

A GOVERNMENT planning inspector has rejected plans for 370 houses on the north east edge of Thornbury.

Developer Bovis Homes wanted to build the homes on a site south of Gloucester Road, between Morton Way and Crossways Lane.

The planning application was originally rejected by South Gloucestershire Council but the housebuilder went to appeal on the grounds that the council had failed to make its decision within the legally-required time scale.

Among the grounds for rejecting the appeal, planning inspector George Baird found that:

  • The application site was outside the town’s development boundary, so against the objectives of the area’s core planning strategy.

  • The site was too far away from facilities in Thornbury

  • Insufficient information was submitted regarding any impact on the road network

  • There would be a serious impact on the character of the landscape

  • The hamlet of Upper Morton would no longer be a separate entity

  • The rural setting of historic buildings in the landscape would be affected

He also said that the application was premature whilst the area’s Joint Spatial Plan is being developed and would undermine the “co-ordinated growth of Thornbury and Buckover Garden Village”.

A spokesperson for the campaign group Thornbury Residents Against Poorly Planned Development (Trapp’d) said: “We are delighted with the result of the appeal and the reasons given by the planning inspector.

“However, this still leaves the door open for SGC to press ahead with the plans to develop Buckover Garden Village within the auspices of the Joint Spatial Plan.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s ruling Conservative group said the authority had successfully demonstrated to the inspector that it now has a five year land supply.

Council leader Toby Savage said: “I am delighted that inspectors agree these plans are not right for Thornbury. This council is focused on a plan-led approach and it is vital we oppose speculative development that does not offer the infrastructure to support services and facilities in Thornbury.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Maggie Tyrrell, who chairs Thornbury Town Council’s town development committee, said she was “relieved” at the decision.

But she added: “There are some worrying aspects of his report, as his refusal is based on quite technical details about landscape and heritage.

“The other important issues, of distance from the town and lack of infrastructure, that have been of so much concern, do not feature as reasons for refusal, which may have implications for future applications.”

Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall said: “This decision by inspectors is a win for our town and sends a clear message that developers can no longer put forward speculative applications and expect the Council and residents to not fight back.”

Bovis Homes could still call for a judicial review of the decision.

A spokesperson for Bovis Homes said: “It is disappointing the appeal has been dismissed, and that much-needed homes, which would help local families access the housing market, will not be delivered in this sustainable location.

“We will now take time to review the decision in full before deciding on any future course of action.”