WEST of England metro mayor Dan Norris is threatening to withhold funding for Thornbury High Street if the public are not given a great say in the plans.

The Labour chair of the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) has previously expressed scepticism about the pedestrianisation scheme, introduced by the Conservative-led South Gloucestershire Council.

Having spoken at two meetings called by residents against the scheme, Mr Norris has now repeated claims that he will not agree to further funding unless there is a ‘full, thorough and respectful consultation’.

While the initial closure of the high street was done at short notice, there has since been a six-month consultation - plus a consultation over the Traffic Regulation Orders which set out the scheme in more detail.

Responses are currently being reviewed and a decision will be made on the proposals later this month.

While the council is not planning any further public consultation on the project, they will be holding ‘engagement and briefing sessions’.

Dan Norris said: “I thought it really important to go and meet local people face-to-face when I heard about the disquiet surrounding the future of Thornbury High Street.

“I attended both of the public meetings and heard the passion, anger and emotion of many local residents.

“I know there is real affection for the high atreet - an affection I share. Thornbury High Street is amazing - especially at Christmas - but all year round too.

“While South Gloucestershire Council appear to have followed the letter of the law when introducing their Experimental Traffic Order, this very rushed-job clearly did not give an outcome that is acceptable to many in the community.

“I’m being asked by South Gloucestershire Council for further funding. I have said that I cannot agree to further funding unless there has been a full, thorough and respectful consultation.

“This is, at the very least, what the communities in and around Thornbury deserve.

“I believe high streets are the life blood of local communities. They will need to adapt to the post-pandemic era so they can thrive. But this has to be done in a wise way and with the support of the communities that depend upon them.”

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “Supporting Thornbury and its high street is a key priority and we are investing considerable resources to deliver on our shared vision for Thornbury as a welcoming and attractive destination for all and to support the economic prosperity of the town.”