Planners urged to oppose 370-homes plan before scheme determined by inspector

March 26 2018

COUNCILLORS were being asked to oppose controversial plans to build up to 370 homes in open countryside in Thornbury ahead of a public inquiry into the scheme.

As previously reported in Thornbury Voice, house builders Bovis and members of the Fear family lodged an appeal to get a decision taken on the proposal for fields off Gloucester Road on the north side of the town.

The outline scheme 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.

The appeal was submitted against South Gloucestershire Council’s non-determination of the application within an agreed period and a planning inspector will now hold an inquiry, expected to last for ten days, in September.

Thornbury Town Council, which is opposing the plan, had already warned about the length of time being taken to consider the application, saying an appeal through non-determination would be the worst possible outcome.

As Thornbury Voice went to press, members of South Gloucestershire Council’s development control committee were meeting to decide how they would have determined the application had they been able.

In a report by officers to the committee, the recommendation was to oppose the scheme on a number of grounds, including development in open countryside, the unsustainable nature of the scheme and the harm it could cause to the hamlet of Upper Morton.

The report said: “By reason of its scale and siting, the proposed development would subsume the hamlet of Upper Morton, which is a non-designated heritage asset.”

Officers were also concerned about the nearness of the site to that of the proposed Buckover garden village.

The report said: “The location of the site within close proximity to Buckover garden village, and its size, will have an effect that is so substantial that to grant permission for a housing scheme at this stage will undermine the plan making process and will predetermine decisions about the scale and location of development in Thornbury and at Buckover, which are central to the draft Joint Spatial Plan.”

As well as objections from individuals, the town council, local pressure group TRAPP’D - Thornbury Residents Against Poorly Planned Development - and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, parish councillors in neighbouring Hill and Oldbury-on-Severn have raised fears about the risk of flooding downstream of Thornbury which could affect them.

Opposition from a number of sources has centred on increased traffic and road safety, as well as the pressure so many new homes already being built were putting on the town’s GP surgeries, schools and sewerage systems.

But the appellants are expected to claim there would be no adverse effects arising from the development that would significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the scheme.