A PROPOSAL to knock down Thornbury’s only remaining council-run elderly people’s home and build houses in its place has been given the green light.
Barratt Homes has won outline planning permission to demolish Alexandra Way care home, which is due to be decommissioned by South Gloucestershire Council, and build 30 new homes on the site.
The small development will include a bus only access route to Park Farm, where Barratt also has permission to build 500 houses provided it could create a public transport link to the town centre, helping the council meet its 30,000 new homes target by 2026.
Residents of Alexandra Way and surrounding roads have objected to the scheme, mainly over parking concerns, and in 2012 accused Barratts of acting ‘callously’ by submitting its plans before a public consultation on the future of the care home was finished.
Lorraine Edwards, also of Victoria Close, said in a letter to the council: “At the middle point of Alexandra Way traffic is already limited to one-way due to residents parking on both sides of the road - a regular bus route through this pinch point doesn't make sense.
“We believe a bus route through to any new development at Park Farm will act as a rat run for residents of the new housing - the proposed new bus lane will prove too tempting for many as an alternative way out direct into the town centre.”
Patricia Donald, of Hyde Avenue, said: “There is no way that a bus will be able to get through Alexandra Way with the current parking arrangements, nevermind with additional cars increasing the congestion.
“I support the building of more houses in Thornbury and don't mind them being on my doorstep but you have to get the detail of the access and transport sorted out so that Thornbury continues to be the sort of place that people want to live in, otherwise building the houses is pointless.”
Resident Charles Eardley-Wilmot told the meeting the application was premature.
“The council is assuming the care home will be closed within three years,” he said. “But until the new Southmead Hospital has settled down and Frenchay has been regenerated we are wasting everybody’s time talking about this.”
The home is due to be closed after 2014 providing alternative care for residents can be found.
Planning officer Sarah Tucker said: “The closure of the elderly peson’s home on site is not considered to attract significant weight in the determination of this application.”
She said although some of the site is outside of Thornbury’s settlement boundary, the scheme should be approved because the ‘proposals are integral to the wider Park Farm development’.