A NEW 3,000-home village which has been proposed near Thornbury could be more than 15 years away from completion.

Initial plans for the new 191-hectare settlement in Buckover were presented to Thornbury town councillors in a special meeting on Tuesday by a team representing the landowners, the Tortworth Estate.

Details of the project were revealed last month, prompting mixed reactions from residents, many of whom raised concerns over the prospect of a site not much smaller than Thornbury.

The meeting, at Thornbury Town Hall, signalled the first interaction between the Tortworth Estate team from Hunter Page Planning and Mediation in Planning, with the Thornbury public, as they outlined a desire to involve residents as well as parish, town and county councils from the outset.

Robert Moreton, owner of the Tortworth Estate, said: “We see the garden village as a long-term investment – we are looking to see a legacy built, not just houses.

“It is important to work with this community to build something that, while we know not everyone will like it, will be something the majority would want.”

Rob Garnham, from Mediation In Planning, added: “It is important to have the dialogue even if there are points to which we don’t agree.

“I know of your concerns and the petition in Thornbury. We are starting with a clean sheet, we do not want this to just be an urban fringe of Thornbury, where blocks of houses are bolted on the site.”

The team said that the consultation period for the Buckover garden village could take up to five years, while the actual build would be spread over the next 10 years.

Suggestions were also made that, as part of the development, there would be work to reduce congestion on the A38 and at the M5 junction in Falfield, with the possibility of an entirely new junction.

Mark Chadwick, of Hunter Page Planning, said: “A garden village is a planned settlement, not just saying ‘we need a few thousand houses’, and will look at housing and employment together, along with the environment, food and energy production and all the other principles and key components that attribute to a quality design.”

“We want this development to be more than just houses, to have something that does what it says on the tin and deliver a place people will want to live in.”

But the promise of a new “idyllic” settlement was debated as Residents and councillors focused comments and follow up questions on issues they felt would arise once building begins.

Cllr Clare Fardell said: “This proposal is not a village, it is a small town, and one with no immediate employment potential.

“I don’t feel that your development will have enough opportunities to provide for all the people.

“As a result, people will end up commuting to work in Bristol, and as people already struggle to get there each day as it is, this will be made even worse with the new developments in Thornbury.”

Several residents also questioned if whether the redevelopment of the existing M5 junction would be done, given the likely extensive cost, and if there would be any liaising over expected work to cater for access to the new power station.

The team responded to the comments by saying they had already been consulting the necessary parties such as the highways agencies, but that the meeting proved to be a very important jumping off point, with plenty of points to go away with.