130 more homes for Thornbury despite council’s legal challenge to other developments

June 28 2018

Proposals to build 130 homes on agricultural land west of Gloucester Road in Thornbury have been approved for a second time, just days after South Glos Council started legal proceedings to challenge another development in the town.

The approved scheme, submitted by Ainscough Strategic land, went back before South Gloucestershire’s Development Control Committee (West) to amend the weighting given to heritage assets, following legal advice. 

Thornbury Town Council, residents and the action group Trapp’d (Thornbury Residents Against Poorly Planned Development) had objected to the plans on the grounds of the distance from facilities in town, no increase in public services in Thornbury, and dangerous access to the site. The developers made various changes including a reduction in the number of homes from 180 to 130.  

The news of the approval came shortly after South Gloucestershire  Council announced that it would challenge a planning inspector’s decision over the Cleve Park development for 350 homes, and wanted the Housing Minister to intervene in a Bovis Home application for 370 houses. 

Leader of the Council Cllr Toby Savage said: “Enough is enough. I am determined to see the council take a robust approach to challenging unsustainable development across the district.”

Cabinet Member for Planning Cllr Colin Hunt said: “It is not appropriate for Thornbury, Charfield and other locations to be under attack from speculative developers in this way, who are seeking to circumvent the plan led system and community engagement in a manner which undermines the recently submitted JSP.” 

Roger Hall, Trapp’d Co Chairman, said: “We felt that they were finally conceding ground on sustainability of the number of speculative, non plan-led planning applications that have come forward since the Core Strategy was adopted in 2013.”  

“However, they now appear to have contradicted their own revised policy and moved the goalposts once again by supporting the land west of Gloucester Road application, whilst wishing the Secretary of State to reverse the Appeal decision on the Cleve Park application.”

Trapp’d is urging the public to sign their open letter to the Housing Minister which is available at Thornbury Town Hall.  It’s asking James Brokenshire for ‘urgent help to save our town’.

In a written report regarding the Ainscough application for 130 homes West of the Gloucester Road, the case officer said: “Irrespective of the position on the Cleve Park site it is not considered that the application proposal for only 130 dwellings prejudices or predetermines the JSP in a similar way.”

In the approved version of the Ainscough plans, there is now a priority T-junction with a dedicated right turn lane and ghost island on Gloucester Road. The speed limit between the site and the town has been reduced to 30mph in response to resident’s concerns. The council’s transport officer said in his report that he was now ‘satisfied’. 

But Trapp’d Co-chairman Roger Hall said: “I am seriously thinking of asking him if he would like to visit this section of Gloucester Road to stand on the white line in the middle of the carriageway and see how long he lasts!”.