Work can start on the £100 million regeneration of a former Forest of Dean mining area after plans were approved for the project on 14 November.
The Forest of Dean district council’s approval of the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) planning application to build a new access road, business space and a new college facility was welcomed by supporters as a ‘massive boost’ for the district.
The planning committee decision will help to unlock massive investment and create around 1,000 new jobs to the district. An outline planning application for a new hotel, employment and business space, a visitor information point and up to 195 new homes were also approved as part of the application.
David Warburton, HCA head of area, told the committee meeting that the project represented a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ for the Forest of Dean.
“This decision will help to bring huge benefits to the Forest of Dean for generations to come and is a massive boost for the area. Local people and councillors have supported proposals for the regeneration of this former mining area for years. Their continued support has been demonstrated by their strong backing of the proposals.”
“A great deal of work has been undertaken and investment made to get to this stage, in progressing plans, preparing the site and carrying out extensive ecological measures. The next phase of hard work starts now and we will work with partners to help make their vision for the Northern Quarter a reality.”
Leader of Forest of Dean district council Patrick Molyneux added:
“This is a huge step forward in implementing our vision for Cinderford. The decision removes uncertainty and means that working in partnership we can now progress the regeneration of the Northern Quarter in Cinderford for the benefit of local residents and the district’s economy.”
Councillor Graham Morgan Chairman of the Cinderford Regeneration Board said:
“This is fantastic news and provides a huge opportunity for people in the Forest. We have already been receiving enquiries from businesses who want to move to the Northern Quarter, which shows confidence in the project.”
The HCA has already started its search for a development partner to lead the construction of the new access road. Once an appointment is made construction work will start next year, after the completion of extensive environmental work, which is expected by next spring.