AN UPDATE has been released about when work could start on a huge controversial development on the edge of Thornbury.

Plans include up to 595 homes, a primary school, a shopping and community hub on land west of Park Farm, Butt Lane.

The Gazette can now reveal that construction work could start next summer.

Other approved proposals include a new bus link, and open spaces with parkland and allotments.

A total of 134 residents, Thornbury Town Council, and Oldbury-on-Severn Parish Council objected to the project, which Barwood Development Securities and North West Thornbury Consortium submitted in December 2018.

However, South Gloucestershire Council failed to determine the application in time eventually leading to a seven-day public inquiry held in October 2022.

Following the hearing, a government planning inspector ruled that the homes should be allowed, despite strong opposition.

An archaeological condition was attached to the appeal ruling - meaning developers must carry out investigation works before any construction can begin.

Now applicant Vistry Homes has put forward what is referred to as a written scheme of investigation to SGC.

The project sets out proposed archaeological works which include the excavation of 11 trenches, each measuring 30m in length and 1.8m in width.

It is believed that the proposed scheme overseen by Cotswold Archaeology would last between eight and ten weeks.

Meanwhile, further analysis of results will take a further 12 months.

A Vistry spokesperson told the Gazette that subject to the WSI being approved, Vistry is hoping to start initial construction work on the site next summer.

It comes as a similar project was carried out by AC archaeology in 2018 on the same site which found features of Iron Age and Romano-British plus Romano-British occupation.

It is believed the site was originally used as small farmsteads with metalworking also taking place.

A planning document reads: "The general objective of the evaluation is to provide further information on the likely archaeological resource within the site, including its presence/absence, character, extent, date and state of preservation.

"This information will enable SGC to identify and assess the particular significance of any archaeological heritage assets within the site, and to consider the impact of the proposed development.

"Should significant archaeological features be identified in these additional evaluation trenches then further archaeological mitigation, in the form of a watching brief of further areas of archaeological excavation, may be required."

It continues: "It is not anticipated that this excavation will afford opportunities for public engagement or participation during the course of the fieldwork.

"However, the excavation results will be made publicly available."

The written scheme of investigation was submitted on April 24.

You can view the WSI application here -