TRANSPORT proposals supporting plans for a controversial 3,000-home garden village near Thornbury could have been ‘fudged’ by planners.

This is according to an email unveiled during the discussion of long term housing plans at South Gloucestershire’s full council meeting tonight.

The email was sent by an unnamed South Gloucestershire Council planning highways officer and was obtained through a Freedom of Information request by Thornbury action group TRAPP’D.

It highlights “big concerns” raised about the transport implications of the proposal.

The concerns raised include:

  • The proposals reliance on existing public transport, not able to achieve modal shift with a further 3,000 new homes in the area.
  • The area’s need to be “at very least be relying on a MetroBus if not consider further a rail based solution.
  • Funding and deliverability of a junction 14 improvement or new M5 junction near Thornbury, which is not featured in any infrastructure plans.
  • Questions over the function of the A38 being fulfilled despite the garden village straddling the road.

In the email, the planner states: “I think on transport grounds alone, I would struggle to be supportive based on the information I have been provided to date,” adding that there was a “significant amount of work to do”.

Further statements include: “The proposals are lacking in transport terms and I wouldn’t pursue this on transport grounds alone.

“The lack of work done to progress Buckover from a transport perspective does still really concern me in light of the discussions with Matthew et al schedules for next week.”

The planner, however, went on to say that “this could be ‘fudged’ for the presentational purposes of the submission if the other factors being considered make this attractive for the council.”

As an example, the email suggested “encouraging the developers to ‘beef up’ their offer and move away from the principles that the existing provision will cater for their impacts.”

A South Gloucestershire Council spokeswoman said: "To put this into context, the email referred to relates to an earlier version of an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the garden village initiative which was submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government in July 2016. It does not refer to the Joint Spatial Plan.

"It was released by South Gloucestershire Council along with other information in January 2017 in response to a Freedom of Information request which was made at the end of 2016."