A 130-HOME housing development approved for Thornbury could be going back for a second decision after it was revealed councillors may have been “misled”.

The Land West of Gloucester Road site, put forward by developer Ainscough Strategic Land, was approved by South Gloucestershire Council in August last year.

Proposals for the development were debated for almost two hours before the council’s development committee voted, with five in favour, four against, and two abstentions.

Action group Thornbury Residents Against Poorly Planned Development (TRAPP’D) subsequently argued that council planning officers were “totally dismissive of the plethora of constructive comments” made by residents, saying they had applied only “limited weight” to core strategy policies, and a “significant” amount more to a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The group has now obtained a legal opinion that the officers had “seriously misled” the committee, failing to advise councillors about the significance of heritage assets in the area that would be affected by the decision.

As a result, the original decision has been nullified, with the plans returning to the committee for a second look.

The town already faces hundreds of new homes from several approved and speculative developments, as well as plans for a 3,000-home garden village in Buckover.

Colin Gardner, TRAPP’D co-chairman, said he was “delighted” the plans will be going back to committee, and that “in reality they had no option, having been caught out making misleading statements”.

He said: “Planners decide from the outset which sites they want to approve, then they break the rules in the way they twist the arms of members of the planning committee to vote the way they want. Well they can’t get away with it anymore.

“We are under no illusion that the planners will continue to recommend approval, but the original decision was a close one, so we live to fight another day!”

An SGC spokesman confirmed the issue had been raised by TRAPP’D for the outline planning application and that an amended report would be presented to members of the planning committee on March 22.

He added: “Officers do not consider the issues raised to be critical to the decision, however as there is an opportunity to amend the report prior to issuing a decision, we have chosen this route, following legal advice.”

Ainscough Strategic Land were unavailable for comment.