A PLANNING application for a 3,000-home garden village on the outskirts of Thornbury could be put forward this year, says its newly appointed developer.

A long-term agreement has been signed between the Tortworth Estate and developer St. Modwen, the latest advancement in the proposals for the controversial Buckover Garden Village, with public consultation likely to begin soon.

Despite strong opposition from residents in neighbouring settlements, such as Thornbury and Falfield, and two failed applications for government funding, the proposed village concept was successful in being included as part of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP), which outlines housing targets for the region up to 2036.

The Tortworth Estate proposed developing 536 acres of its own non-greenbelt agricultural land into a new community based on the Government’s Garden Villages concept, with initial plans comprising of up-to 3,000 homes, with supporting employment, health, education, retail and community facilities

Critics have however speculated that the development would put the infrastructure of nearby settlements under further strain, as well as causing problems along the A38 and up to the Falfield M5 junction.

Robert Moreton of the Tortworth Estate, said: "We see Buckover as an opportunity to help promote health and wellbeing through green infrastructure and the growing of local food and produce.

“The aim is deliver an inclusive community, employment opportunities and flexible housing for all, whilst preserving biodiversity and creating wildlife corridors, wetlands and green open spaces.

“Our family has been actively involved in the running of the estate, working with the local community since the 1620s, and the estate will continue to be fully involved with the new development at Buckover. It will be our legacy for the future.”

Rupert Joseland, St Modwen property director for the West and Wales, said: “As a regional and national developer with expertise in creating new communities, we continually strive to change places to create better futures.

“This latest agreement further highlights St. Modwen's track record of investing in the delivery of large-scale, long-term residential-led developments.

“As Tortworth Estate’s development partner, we will implement the infrastructure works associated with this extensive project, including new community facilities and employment opportunities. We will deliver up to 3,000 new homes, all of which will be designed to complement the existing area.

“We look forward to drawing up plans and consulting more broadly with the surrounding community and local stakeholders as they start to take shape, before we submit a planning application later this year.”