AN ALTERNATIVE site for the controversial 3,000-home Buckover Garden Village put forward by two architects from Falfield have been dismissed by developers.
Proposals for “Tortworth Garden Village” have been submitted to the West of England’s Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) by residents Toby Jefferies and Emma Jarvis as a possible alternative.
Early proposals for the Buckover project, which were released last year by the landowners Tortworth Estate, have been met with strong opposition from residents in Thornbury and Falfield, but have been allocated 2,200-homes in the latest drafts of the JSP.
The newly suggested site, put forward through the pair’s company Jarvis Jeffries Architects LLP, would situate a 3,200-home settlement at the top of Tortworth Hill – with the initial number chosen to absorb the housing commitments of both Buckover and Charfield in the JSP.
It has also been suggested that basing the village on the other side of the M5 motorway, with an adaption to the junction could help with the demands for improved transport infrastructure.
The couple say that the inspiration came after planners at a housing meeting in Thornbury challenged residents to put forward alternative suggestions for development.
Ms Jarvis, who also serves as a Falfield parish councillor, said: “We started by just entertaining the prospect of another site but the more we looked at it, the more it seems like a well-considered, sustainable solution.
“We have not been appointed by any landowners or developers to do this; we have done this entirely off our own backs as we live in the area and are deeply concerned about the current JSP strategy.
“Nevertheless our alternative proposal is also under the ownership of the landowner promoting the idea of Buckover Garden Village, so in principle it should be of interest to them.”
But despite not having seen any plans, the Tortworth Estate, who own the land for both sites, responded by questioning how an organisation can propose a development on which it has no ownership, and said it would distance itself from the Jarvis Jeffries scheme.
Robert Moreton of the Tortworth Estate, said, “We await full publication of the Jarvis Jefferies JSP submission but I am puzzled as to why anyone would promote a scheme on land they do not own, especially without speaking to the land owner, nor promote a scheme for the Joint Spatial Plan that does not meet its success criteria and cannot deliver within the plan period.
“The Estate continues with its work on Buckover Garden Village as encouraged to do so by the government’s Homes and Communities Agency who have stated that they “recognise the potential” of our proposal.
“We are continuing to build on the engagement we have had in 2016, and the technical work undertaken, to show why we believe the Buckover Garden Village is worthy of remaining within the draft JSP.”
The estate added that other areas of land owned by themselves could not be developed on due to planning constraints.
Mr Jefferies, who also lectures in architecture at Bath and Cardiff Universities criticised Tortworth Estate for their attitude to the suggestions and failing to adhere to properly engage with the community and take on board suggestions.
He said: “This idea was meant to start a dialogue and ask questions. It is disappointing to be immediately knocked back when they have yet to see the plans.
“If you say you are going to offer a “community-led” scheme, then you should be prepared to engage and listen.
“We strongly feel that there should be more challenge to developers being allowed to dictate all of the sites where new growth in our area can happen.
“It is not even down to preferring one site, when you hold them side by side, they have all the same issues, but we feel this one simply deals with them more effectively.”