A DEVELOPER has lodged an application to build 30 homes and a bus lane on Alexandra Way in Thornbury, to the dismay of campaigners.

Barratt Homes submitted its plans for land at the north of the town on Friday, the Gazette can reveal, exactly a week before a public consultation into the future of the care home was due to end.

This was a "callous" move, according to activists and townspeople, who felt their opinions were not taken seriously by the firm.

Barratt held an exhibition on December 3, inviting locals to find out about its plans to demolish the Alexandra Way care home, which is due to close in 2014, and turn it into a housing estate complete with a transport route going through the other development it hopes to build at Park Farm. On the back of this, South Gloucestershire Council launched its own open consultation, which is due to end tomorrow, asking residents what they wished to see constructed, if anything, on the site once the home was disbanded.

Former town councillor Charles Eardley-Wilmot, who believes the grounds would be better suited for a much-needed new sixth form centre for Castle School, called the application "premature".

He said: "I do not believe that the future of the Alexandra Way site should be considered until the future of the Castle School has been determined.

"The site could be of prime importance if the sixth form centre at Gloucester Road is to be moved to the Park Road site."

The Gazette understands Castle School governors were due to meet to discuss the situation and their options.

Barratt’s plans to build 500 homes at Park Farm were approved by an independent inspector at a public inquiry last summer. But the firm still needs to show it can find space to create a public transport link to the town centre, hence the application at Alexandra Way.

Gareth Davies, a member of Save Thornbury’s Green Heritage, the action group formed to fight housing at the Tudor deer park, called Barratt’s behaviour "callous".

He said the decision to submit an application days before Christmas was not lost on townspeople.

"The exhibition was sort of sprung on people," he said. "I was not even clear what the closing date for comments was. For them to apply so quickly is not surprising but quite callous.

"And of course why not do it just before Christmas when people are not paying attention?"

No-one at Barratt was available for comment.