South Gloucestershire’s ruling Conservative group last night voted through the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) which will see nearly 33,000 new houses built in South Gloucestershire over nineteen years. 3,200 are planned for Charfield, Thornbury and the new ‘Buckover Garden Village’ alone – with a further 1,500 anticipated at Buckover in the longer term.
Voting against the JSP, Lib Dem councillor for Charfield, John O’Neill said: “This plan will more than double the number of houses in Charfield ward to over 5,000. It will create even larger commuter areas in Charfield and Buckover and continue to leave both settlements isolated in terms of medical facilities. I would defy anyone to get from Charfield to Southmead for an appointment and back in the same day using public transport.”
Lib Dem Prospective MP for Thornbury and Yate, Cllr Claire Young said: “No one is asking for our villages to be set in aspic. We fully acknowledge the need for more affordable homes in South Gloucestershire, but this plan concentrates a huge amount of development in just a few areas – threatening to make some communities unrecognisable within a few years. The new developments have simply not been properly thought through. The so-called ‘Buckover Garden Village’ will be cut in two by the busy A38. Vague talk in the JSP about ‘consideration being required to ensure the A38 can continue to act as an effective relief road to the M5 without detriment to the new resident’s health & wellbeing’ is meaningless.”
Cllr Maggie Tyrell (Thornbury South & Alveston) said: “The plan proposed by the Conservatives doesn’t give us any hope that what Thornbury needs, Thornbury will get. Buckover is projected to have 3,000 houses in the long term, but where is the transport infrastructure to serve this huge development? A Metrobus route there in 20 years’ time will be no good if most of the houses are built before then. This plan is a mess. We’re getting houses in all the wrong places.”
Cllr Shirley Holloway (Thornbury South & Alveston) said: “This plan bills ‘Buckover Garden Village’ as a separate community, but the reality is that it will be separated from Thornbury by little more than a field and will be reliant on Thornbury for its shops, schools, and other services and other amenities. Such a large development will place significant strain on existing community infrastructure.”
Thornbury North councillor Clare Fardell said: “We are very conscious of the need for affordable homes in Thornbury, but the definition of “Affordable Housing” used in the JSP is 80% of local market rate – or around £240,000 in the case of Thornbury. That is hardly affordable to most people, certainly not local young people hoping to remain in the area. I fear it will only be big developers who benefit from this plan, not local people.”
Conservative councillor David Chubb (Thornbury North) commended the JSP, saying that Thornbury would need more houses when the new nuclear power station is built.
The JSP was passed by the Conservative majority on the Council. All Liberal Democrat councillors voted against, with most Labour councillors abstaining.