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Protest march against Cinderford development

By citizengibbon  |  Posted: February 04, 2013

Comments (6)

Protesters assembled in Cinderford at the weekend to make their views on the town's imminent development clear.

Green groups have long been opposed to the regeneration of the town's largely derelict Northern Quarter.

Fears over the impact on wildlife, as well as the loss of so-called 'Forest Waste' - the term given to land in the statutory Forest that is not legally enclosed - prompted a peaceful march from the town centre to the gates of the Northern United site.

The area will be transformed into a new employment, housing and education hub in a multi-million pound scheme, pending planning permission and the granting on licences from Natural England.

The walk was organised in part by members of the Protect the Wilderness Centre group.

On their Facebook page, they said: "The so-called authorities insult local traditions, Forest heritage and the rights of all peoples of this Forest.

"All Free People have the right to roam the land, the right to access culturally important objects and places and the right to define and determine appropriate development of their land. A Trust of Unified Foresters is forming to defend the Forest from all those who seek to defile and destroy life in the area."

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6 comments

  • Bonkim2003  |  February 08 2013, 9:45AM

    Have to agree somewhat with Colefordian, and karlgreenf - if you look up some of the adverts for the new housing - these are aimed at present residents or those working in Chelenham/Gloucester afield - the rationale for the regeneration, and developing housing at all the new sites being opened up was to increase housing supply for Forest residents, and reduce commuting by increasing employment opportunities. It would be interesting to see if these objectives are fulfilled. On the face of it new employers and increased housing will mean more new comers to the Forest, also more commuting. Do we really want that at the expense of yet more sacrifice of the Forest just beginning to recover from its mining scars.

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  • Colefordian  |  February 06 2013, 10:26AM

    Cinderford Regeneration Board! Maybe a more appropriate name would be Coleford Degeneration Board! No doubt that the delay in voting in a new district councillor in Berry Hill is due to the powers that be at the council offices not wanting a pro-FANS (Five Acres Not for Sale) appointee in their midst, which is what would probably happen. Obvious gerrymandering, denying people their legal and democratic right. There are a few people in the Forest who think they own the area and can do what they like with it. Unfortunately, they tend to be councillors, work for the council or have very strong ties with it. Not only that but many of them don't appear to even live in the Forest of Dean. How come over the last few years the controversies that have blighted the Forest have tended to be limited to a certain band of organizations - Forest of Dean DC, Forestry Commission, 2 Rivers Housing, Gloucs College! Do the top brass of these organizations mingle in the same social circles? Is it cronyism at work? Do these social circles include Mark Harper MP, who quite frankly couldn't care less about his constituents in the Forest, but is happy to come out of the woodwork in true rent-a-MP style when there's a photo opportunity espousing the work and "virtues" of the above organizations. There is £10s of millions of public money at stake here, and it seems to be in the hands of a select band of individuals who have not been elected to the posts. Not only that but the biggest winners are going to those companies who have employees who sit on the regeneration board. This is not localism, and it's certainly not democracy at work.

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  • karlgreenf  |  February 05 2013, 1:54PM

    The only people that this will benefit are those associated with the planning and building of it at considerable detriment to our environment, wildlife and the rest of us - the money would be far better spent, and have a far more benefical effect on local people and commerce by funding 1200+ years of car parking charges.This is entirely against the ethos of the HOOF movement that the local authorities claimed to support. I do not want my money spent funding the obliteration of 200+ acres of the forest to create unwanted houses and another derelict business park on expensive concrete rafts over unstable areas of the forest, within which are valuable coal seams which could be exploited by our freeminers with minimal environmental effect. This also while removing valuable facilities at Five Acres and adding to the misery of local commuters, struggling to make a living in the only currently realistic method for most residents - travelling outside the forest every day. This development and the GCC philosophy behind it will do nothing more than overburden us with even more people living temporarily for a few years in the forest and saving money here before returning home to live like kings. Big business will enjoy employment "cost savings" at the expense of those who wish to live here long term, and those local unemployed who rely on our paying taxes to provide benefits. We will compete for jobs outside the forest, further loading our roads and infrastructure. This while setting a precedent that destruction of the forest in the misguided, naive belief that a tiny commercial premises in an area proven to be undesirable to that market is a "price worth paying". This development, or better still the money; must be moved to somewhere appropriate.

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  • CitizenV  |  February 05 2013, 11:05AM

    Ensors sold the Valley Road site to the Housing & Communities Agency, who purchased it for the building of social housing. FDDC's preferred social housing provider is Two Rivers Housing Association (who will probably end up paying very little for the properties when they are transfered). Gloucestershire College is to re-locate the Royal Forest of Dean College from Five Acres, Coleford to the Cinderford Northern Quarter as part of the Cinderford Regeneration. The Five Acres site is to be sold to the Housing & Communities Agency for the purpose of building of social housing, again to the benefit of Two Rivers Housing Association. Gloucestershire College took over the Royal Forest of Dean College just before the Housing & Communities Agency's interest in buying the site for social housing came into the public domain (although it was public knowledge before the takeover). A move by Lakers School, Coleford to a new campus at Cinderford has also been touted. The Housing & Communities Agency had wanted to purchase part of the school that abuts the old Five Acres site, for the purpose of easing access to the site and for more social housing. A director of Ensors, the MD of Two Rivers Housing Association and the ex-principal of Gloucestershire College all sit on the Cinderford Regeneration Board. But this must be coincidence. Also I see that someone is marking down comments that are querying the viability of the Cinderford Northern Quarter regeneration as it stands at the moment. I trust this is not a PR stunt by the Forest of Dean Council to give the impression that the anti - regeneration lobby are a few crackpots. If the "Plebgate" saga has taught us anything, it is the questionable legality of those holding public office trying to pass off their own opinions as those of the general public.

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  • thestig2  |  February 04 2013, 4:26PM

    keep living in the dark ages, is that what they want us to do. some people want the new development for better, yrs ive lived near Cinderford and it hasn't changed apart from the triangle, if it is built then why cant a new lake be put in and some memorials from forest era to remind of what its all about. try to think of ways to help instead all you get is what about the wildlife in that area. well what about when forestry goes around and demolishes acres of land for the timber and nothing ever said what about the wildlife living there.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  February 04 2013, 11:11AM

    Good luck - Government subsidised development is a fool's enterprise - will collapse when the grant money runs out. There is plenty of brown-field sites that can be used for re-development - the Cinderford site is just recovering from its mining past and it will be a shame to undu nature's work. There just isn't the need for a consumer-led development there - which will simply bring in more outside people to live there or encourage further commuting to take up any new employment opportunities created.

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