Thornbury 'would triple in size' if all suggested development sites were built on

April 03 2021
Thornbury 'would triple in size' if all suggested development sites were built on

CAMPAIGNERS say that Thornbury would triple in size if all new development sites suggested to South Gloucestershire Council were built on.

The council made a "call for sites", asking landowners, developers and other interested parties to suggest them, as part of preparations for its latest local planning blueprint.

The local authority has been clear that, just because a site has been put forward, it does not mean it will be included in the local plan as suitable for development.

But the 11 new areas to be suggested would be added to a list of sites already received under previous work on the abandoned regional Joint Spatial Plan, including the proposal for a 'garden village' at Buckover.

Campaign group Thornbury Against Poorly Planned Development estimates that if all the sites were developed, Thornbury would end up with over 10,000 new homes, and would triple in size as a result.

Trapp'd spokesperson Colin Gardner said: “A glance at the map shows that there is barely a field around Thornbury that has not been put forward, and clearly underlines the principle that development creates more development.

"Many of the latest sites proclaim the advantage of being an ‘infill’ from other sites, or that a recently approved site, or Buckover, opens access to their site.

"This, in our view, is undoubtedly a crisis for Thornbury as we know it, but we are not helpless in the face of this challenge.”

South Gloucestershire and Thornbury town councillor Maggie Tyrrell said: “Whichever way you look at it, the amount of land put forward by its owners as potential development sites is quite startling.

“This is the start of the Local Plan process, and it’s up to councillors and the community working together to make sure that a sensible plan is put in place to control what is built, and where, across South Gloucestershire.

“We’ve seen the effect that this type of development, uncontrolled by a proper plan, has already had on Thornbury.

"With around 800 houses that already have permission still to be built, we need to put the brakes on and give the town time to adjust and build the infrastructure to support all the new families that are already arriving.

"Further uncontrolled sprawl to the east of the town will just put more pressure on the road network and all other facilities.”

South Gloucestershire Council says there will be a three stage process before any sites could be included any in the local plan.

Firstly, they will be assessed against the local plan's priorities and the council's aim to achieve net zero carbon by 2030. Any sites which might be suitable will be consulted on.

Secondly, they will be technically assessed using national planning guidance, known as the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment.

The third stage is a public consultation on sites that have come through the other two stages.

Sites that got through this process would then be ‘allocated’ as suitable in principle for development for a specific use or purpose in the finished local plan. Planning permission would still need to be obtained for each development.

Colin said: “One lesson from the failed JSP is that the consultation process never diverts authorities from their preferred direction, but that it is important to take part in the process because arguments registered can hit home when it comes to an inspector’s examination in public.

“We therefore need to do more than participate in the consultation process, but also keep the matter in the public eye and make it an issue of local politics, especially as we come to elections.”

The map above shows sites where new developments are being built or have planning permission in black, while sites put forward after South Gloucestershire council asked for suggestions are marked in grey.  

*WORK will get underway this summer on a development of more than 130 new homes being built by a housing association in Thornbury.

Sovereign Housing Association, working with developer Miller Homes, is spending almost £50 million on building 136 new homes, which will form part of the wider 350 home Cleve Wood development on land at the junction of Morton Way and Grovesend Road.

The association's development will include 38 homes for social rent, 11 available through shared ownership and 87 for private sale.

The housing association say there are currently 4,000 South Gloucestershire households in need of a home and its development at Cleve wood is part of a policy to acquire more land for development.

The overall Miller Homes@Cleve Wood development will include a total of 336 new homes and 14 self-build homes, a care home and retail space.

Sovereign's land and planning director, Steve Trenwith, said: "We’re delighted to be able to invest in this new community. We want to build communities and places, not just homes, and by investing more in land-led development we can take greater control over our developments, making sure that we’re building the right homes in the right places."

The homes will be a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses and bungalows.

The association wants to see the first residents move in early next year.