THESE images show how a £15million college campus will help transform a former colliery in Cinderford.
The state-of-the-art building is seen as central to the £100million regeneration of Cinderford’s Northern Quarter, which could create around 1,000 jobs.
Project leaders at the Homes and Communities Agency have released these artist’s impressions of the proposed 1,200-student Gloucestershire College Royal Forest of Dean campus, which could start taking shape as early as autumn if planners give it the go ahead.
Principal Matthew Burgess said there was a real need for economic development in this part of the county and he hoped opportunities for apprenticeship programmes would be created.
The building work would be led by Barnwood Construction in Glouceste, he said.
Mr Burgess added: “This is about ensuring there are opportunities for these young people in the Forest of Dean and that the resources here are as good as they are in other parts of the county.”
The 10-year development programme to provide a hotel, 195 homes and up to 18,800sqm of employment space has been described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” by Tim Holder, vice-chairman of the Cinderford Regeneration Board.
“Who is going to say no to £100million of investment?” he said.
“Chances like this don’t come along often. We are surrounded by trees and have very limited development space around Cinderford, so this is a godsend.
“There is no doubt about it, everyone in Cinderford is for it. Cinderford wants this, needs this and I hope we get it.”
He said the development project would be a huge economic boost to the town, which has suffered from closures by major employers from Rank Xerox to Listers.
The HCA has submitted its plans for the 7,750 sqm campus and £8.9million spine road between the A4136 and Broadmoor Road which will enable the development of employment, leisure and residential space in the town.
The planning application handed to Forest of Dean District Council also includes the demolition of existing buildings.
A number of measures to preserve wildlife are also in the pipeline.
David Warburton, from the HCA, said the plan is not just to move businesses from one Forest of Dean town to another, but to attract more commerce to the district and to allow existing companies to grow.
He said: “The absolute intention is for the Northern Quarter to offer something different that is not available elsewhere and to attract a different range of businesses from the surrounding area and on a national level.”
The HCA said surveys carried out at a public exhibition in November found that almost 80 per cent of respondents were in favour of a new college on the site, which would cater for 1,200 students, and that 73 per cent agreed with proposals for the new spine road.
It is hoped the plans will be debated as early as August.