Plans to build 105,000 homes across the West of England, including in Thornbury, Charfield, Buckover, Yate and Coalpit Heath are in tatters after government inspectors ruled the entire process must start all over again.

Last month, planning inspectors, Malcolm Rivett and Steven Lee concluded they had “significant concerns” about fundamental aspects of the region’s housing blueprint.

They dramatically halted the public examination stage of the JSP saying it was unlikely they would find the plan legally sound.

Now, in a letter explaining their findings in more detail, they say the evidence presented by the local authorities at July’s hearings in Bath’s Guildhall had only “deepened” their concerns, and directed them to withdraw the JSP.

In the letter published last week they said: “The changes we envisage are necessary to the JSP are so fundamental that, in effect, the examination would have to be run again.

“Given that it has taken 16 months to get the examination to the current point, we envisage it would take at least the same amount of time, and probably considerably longer, to ultimately complete it.”

The inspectors warned the councils that if they tried “simply to re-justify the selection” of the 12 strategic development locations (SDLs), it would “lack credibility” and “could not now be considered to be anything other than retrospective justification of the plan.”

They said they were not convinced the councils had considered 'reasonable alternatives'.

The officials also criticised the plan’s inclusion of 8,550 homes on greenbelt land.

Speaking on behalf of the four unitary authorities in response to the letter, Bristol City Council cabinet member for spatial planning and city design Cllr Nicola Beech said: “We are disappointed by some of the conclusions drawn by the inspectors.

“While it is clear we will not pursue the JSP in its current form, we will now consider their detailed comments carefully.

“We will fully consider the technical details and the potential options open to us to move forwards, in addition to considering the implications for the ongoing development of Local Plans.

“We will do this in the coming weeks and anticipate submitting a formal response as soon as practicable.”