Sustainability, a sense of place and entrepreneurial spirit have emerged as the three key themes coming out of the first public workshop on the proposed Buckover Garden Village, as the full session report is published on the Tortworth Estate website this week.

The workshop – the first in a series of local community workshops planned for this year – took place in April with over 50 people in attendance from 20 public, private and not for profit organisations.  It was organised by the Tortworth Estate and its development partner, St. Modwen, as an opportunity for focused discussion on how the proposed garden village at Buckover could be developed as one of the strategic locations identified in the West of England Joint Spatial Plan.

Attendees discussed in separate groups the  four main topics of “Mixed Use Development”; “Green Infrastructure”; “Movement and Transport”; and “Requirements for 21st Century Living”.  After these discussions, each group fed back to the wider audience sharing key points for everyone to consider in the following concept workshop session.   Understanding the opportunities and challenges presented by the A38 was of particular interest. The feedback has been summarised into a report which will be used to shape and inform further community workshops in coming months.  Key themes to emerge from the workshop session included:

1. Sustainability
• 21st century living: Buckover Garden Village needs to be about people.  Community
should be the focus with connectivity and sustainability at its core, and working towards carbon neutrality.
• Schools and health: Buckover must meet and sustain its own demand for GP services, school places and other community infrastructure to avoid adding pressure on the existing local provision.
• Safe and sustainable movement and transport: all residents should be within easy walking
distance of the village centre and the schools, shops, jobs, leisure, health and community facilities.  Walking and cycling should be prioritised along the lanes between Buckover and Thornbury and a network of footpaths and cycleways to connect Buckover residents to the surrounding countryside.  Bus connections will need to be enhanced through higher frequency and bus priority.
• Green space:  Buckover has the potential to provide a full range of open space, including allotments and playing fields, for use by residents of both Buckover and Thornbury and this should be explored.
2. A sense of place
• Village Centre: there was a clear message that Buckover Garden Village needs to have a ‘heart’ – a central hub with a church, local shops and services (not ‘High Street’ chains) to create a strong sense of community and individuality. It should also provide arts and cultural facilities in partnership with Thornbury.
• Distinct character and identity: A green ‘rural belt’ was a key part of the original Garden City concept. The lanes between Buckover and Thornbury are also an integral part of the landscape character and respecting  this is important in maintaining the distinct identities of Buckover and Thornbury.
3. Entrepreneurial spirit
• Employment: The aim at Buckover should be to encourage the formation of new businesses with enterprise centres, home-hubs, workshops and to support flexible leases – to complement and support  what is already available in Thornbury.

Robert Moreton of the Tortworth Estate said: “Buckover has been formally identified within the emerging West of England Plan Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) as a strategic development location based on Garden Village principles.  We want to engage with as many local people as possible to gather their views and input on what a future master plan for this 21st century concept might look like.  We are very encouraged by the feedback from this first workshop session which we will now use to shape and inform our future public engagement sessions.”

Mark Thorne of St. Modwen added: “We have built our business and our reputation upon creating carefully planned and considered new communities and places where people genuinely want to live, work and relax.  Should the emerging Joint Spatial Plan be formally adopted by the UK Government and the principle of Buckover Garden Village ratified, then it is important that as many local people as possible have been given the chance to contribute their views and help influence and shape the final proposals and site master plan.”

A full copy of the analysis report from the first public workshop can be found here:
A full report from the second workshop (19/20 July 2018)which involved homeowners local to the proposed site  will be uploaded to the website in due course.  Outputs from further workshops will also be published online ahead of an all-inclusive Public Exhibition prior to the submission of an outline planning application next year.