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Cinderford Northern Quarter regeneration scheme gets thumbs up

By citizengibbon  |  Posted: February 12, 2013

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The Forest of Dean will gain hundreds of new jobs and millions of pounds in investment after plans to transform two key employment sites were backed by councillors today.

The district council's planning committee has approved two proposals to bring new modern employment space and improved access to the former Northern United Colliery site and Forest Vale Industrial Park, near Cinderford town centre. 

The decisions are expected to unlock around 300 jobs and bring in about £11m in investment in the Northern Quarter project, to add to the £60m partners have already secured for Cinderford's wider regeneration programme.

The outline planning applications submitted by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are set to deliver: •    Around 11,000sqm of new office and employment space at the Northern United site. Nearly 40 business units are proposed and there is potential to create a new facility linked to the area's mining heritage. Full planning permission was also granted to create an improved entrance to the site from the A4136.

 •    Two new purpose-built buildings at Forest Vale Industrial Park, which would provide 2,800 sq m of employment space. Improvements along Newtown Road and its junction with Broadmoor Road are also planned to provide better access to the site. 

A separate planning application to deliver the £10.5m Northern Quarter Spine Road project is expected to be made to the district council in June.

As part of the planning agreements, the HCA said it will take stringent measures to protect species of newt, bat, dormice and other wildlife identified by its team of ecologists. Measures will include new 'hotels' and special lighting for bats and proposals to move other animals to suitable replacement habitats nearby. These measures are expected to cost around £50,000.

David Warburton, HCA Head of Area, said: "These are crucially important projects for the Forest of Dean and support the council's aim to regenerate the area by bringing new employment and investment into the district.

"I've been encouraged, but not at all surprised, by the level of support we have had for the proposals to regenerate the Forest and it's great news for local people that councillors have approved our plans.

"We are taking all necessary measures to protect wildlife around the development area and will continue to do this during the next phases of work planned for the site.

"We recognise the importance of the heritage of this area and are already taking steps to improve access to the memorial at Northern United. Now that the plans have been approved we will be looking to improve access to the memorial on the site."

Councillor Patrick Molyneux, leader of Forest of Dean District Council, added: "One of the key principles we are looking to support is driving economic growth in a sustainable way through new homes, jobs and infrastructure.

"Both planning applications have been the subject of extensive and wide-ranging consultation which has found strong support for the principles of bringing sustainable businesses and investment to the Forest of Dean.

 "I'm delighted that these plans have been approved and can think of no better tribute to the heritage of this area than providing a bright new future for the next generation of Foresters."

Coun Graham Morgan, chairman of the Cinderford Regeneration Board said: "I am absolutely over the moon. This will be a huge help to the town – the majority of people welcome this and they tell me this every day in the street. Cinderford has been waiting for this since the mid-1980s and I've spent much of my time on the council working towards it. It is wonderful at last to see big steps forward like this."

Detailed designs for both schemes will be made once outstanding ecological issues have been addressed and wildlife protection measures are in place.The new site access arrangements at Northern United will begin this month with landscaping work, the demolition of two buildings and creation of new habitats for newts. 

These projects are being delivered in line with the district council's Core Strategy and the Cinderford Northern Quarter Area Action Plan , which have been adopted following extensive consultation with the local community and have cross party political support.

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7 comments

  • Hinchcliffe33  |  February 17 2013, 12:35AM

    jonno2010 is a troll. Of course he wants to get into a "slanging match".

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  • vuristerodean  |  February 15 2013, 1:13PM

    Steam Mills isn't in South Wales. Different strata, opencast and fizzly mining, some deep mining. A huge lagoon of water lurking down below, including over 250' up the Northern Shaft. Paul Morgan, retired Mine Inspector from Northern says that it is the worst place in the Forest to develop. Mike Jones who excavated the opencast coal site, says that it was infilled down a 100' with clay, rubble and muck, that's why it was turned into a fishing lake area and wildlife sanctuary. When I was a lad in the 1950s we used to go swimming in the deep brickworks clay lake there. Couldn't see the bottom. Very dangerous, but we survived. It will cost far more than the original estimate of several years ago of £8million for foundations, because of all the new building schemes over a wider area. They (HCA) are talking about building on rafts. How much of our money will that take? Meanwhile as the years roll by, my poor old Cindyfud will continue to slide downhill and the centre will become a ghost town. A crying shame.

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  • jonno2010  |  February 14 2013, 9:23PM

    Bonkin2003 ive noticed youve had alot to say on numerous occasions and i think you talk a load of c??p

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  • Bonkim2003  |  February 14 2013, 9:09PM

    jonno2010 - what makes you think the new jobs created will be taken up by Cinderford folk? Perhaps new people will move in and in time become Cinderfordian - get real - the college move will not create new jobs for Cinderford - existing staff will either move or new recruits move in. The road construction - the contractors will bring their own crew, perhaps a few locals. Other investments? if firms move in - all their specialist staff will move in too - hotels, etc, - low paying jobs mostly and if you see the pattern - mostly overseas low paid recruits. If Cinderfor fork are qualified they already have jobe and commute - not sure if the kind of industries they work will be replicated at the Northern Quarter. If you look up some of the adverts of the house builders - they are aiming their houses further afield to people in Gloucester/Cheltenham - encouraging more commuting. Prices unlikely to be attractive for Cinderford's needy unless they are on the housing list and somehow get some allocation. Building labour - from all round - may be some local. The real question all said and done - who will bring new money, new industry to Cinderford - far away from the main transport routes and established locations such as Gloucester/Tewkesbury/Cheltenham/South Glos, etc, close to the motorway and rail routes. Not many I would suggest beyond Mitcheldean. Five star tourist hotels - you are dreaming - the Forest is nature - that is what attracts canoeists, campers, day trippers, etc - this is not a 5 star tourist haunt or a historic/cultural attraction such as York or Bath or stratford. get real with your expectations. Any business first needs to ask who are the paying customers, how many and how much - regrettably for Cinderford moving the college or building a few more houses is a zero sum game - displaces from somewhere else and a few low paid crumbs thrown for the locals - dream on! Going by the traffic the bulk of the Forest folk don't appear to have bought the idea despite loud noises from the council chamber.

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  • jonno2010  |  February 14 2013, 5:27PM

    Vuristerodean, i dont wish to get in a slanging match with you,but half of Wales is built on old mine wokings ok bats and newts are protected but i think in this day and age people are more inportant with regarding jobs and employment,and as for it killing Cinderford ,Cinderford has been dead for many years know theres nothing left here im sorry to say and ive lived here all my life over 50years

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  • vuristerodean  |  February 14 2013, 4:58PM

    Jonno, it will kill the centre of Cindyfud. They haven't even done the tests for the foundations yet and those will be in undermined unsafe ground and cost millions more than they think. Remember the old Duck Pit up the road a few hundred metres away collapsed into itself recently. The same will happen on the Northern Quarter. Also, there is still a High Court action ongoing about the bat roosts; the HCA have changed the direction of the road four times so far and the Freeminers with the Gales will be screaming for millions in compensation. A glorious Forest mess once again. I could go on. Oh, and the money still ain't been raised as yet and the rest of the Forest is beginning to play up. Alleyulah!

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  • jonno2010  |  February 12 2013, 5:04PM

    This is fantastic news great for the area.

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