CONTROVERSIAL proposals that would see 150 homes built on land allocated for employment in Thornbury have been criticised as not being in the public’s interest.

Bloor Homes, who are already developing the 500-home Thornbury Fields site on Morton Way have announced the intention to submit a planning application for further homes down the road at Crossways, along with ‘potential start-up business’ units.

The five hectare site in question, however, has already been identified as potential employment land in the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) which outlines housing and infrastructure targets across South Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset until 2036.

Thornbury, which already faces thousands of new homes, both prospective and approved, as well as the controversial 3,000-home Buckover Garden Village on its outskirts, is also currently in the process of developing a Neighbourhood Development Plan which will give the town more influence in how it grows in the future.

Challenging the JSP proposals, Bloor claim their work highlights the absence of any supporting evidence from the council’s on the need for and the suitability of the site for light industrial units, warehousing and large-scale offices.

Bloor planning manager Claire Hambleton said that the company welcomed the view that the site is suitable for development but ‘not the quantum and type of employment use proposed for this location’, instead suggesting that it was better suited to an approach which combines new homes with small start-up business units.

Cllr Colin Hunt, SGC cabinet member for planning, transportation and the strategic environment said that ‘very initial discussions’ had taken place between council officers and the developer regarding the proposals, but said they remain ‘committed to properly planning the infrastructure required to support sustainable growth in Thornbury’.

“Feedback from the community consultation in October 2017 emphasised the importance of ensuring development comes forward in a co-ordinated and planned way, which supports the economic and social fabric of the town.

“Although the Bloor plans may be in a location proposed for strategic growth in the JSP at Thornbury, this has yet to be tested through the examination process, and until it has been we are very concerned that the pressure from speculative developments seriously undermines the ability to deliver sustainable, well planned community-led developments.

“Developers are seeking to circumvent the plan-led system and community engagement in a manner that undermines the recently submitted JSP. This is not in the interests of either the existing or the new community.”

Thornbury town and SGC Cllr Maggie Tyrrell went further to say that she felt the rural site on Thornbury’s outskirts should remain untouched, claiming it would be inappropriate for either usage.

“The issue of where the employment land should be has not been consulted on,” she said. “It appeared on the plan very late and didn’t go through the full process and therefore we would question the location because it is in a very sensitive area with access through the rural lanes.

“But to then say that in that case it should have houses built on it doesn’t necessary follow because we don’t believe Thornbury needs any more homes of that type at this time.

“What Thornbury needs is to wait for the neighbourhood development plan to be produced where there will be a fully considered view of where Thornbury needs housing.”

A website setting out the emerging Bloor Homes proposals, also offering the public an opportunity to record their views can be viewed at