£20 million development plans unveiled to boost Forest of Dean economy

Details have been unveiled of an ambitious £20 million investment programme to bring jobs and new sports, education and community facilities to the Forest of Dean.

An ambitious bid for £20 million of government Levelling Up Fund money has been unveiled to create jobs and sports, education, leisure and business facilities in the Forest of Dean.

Applying for the maximum funds available through the scheme, the bid is a joint effort by the Forest of Dean District Council, Hartpury University and Hartpury College and Cinderford Town Council and backed the district’s MP Mark Harper.

If successful it would see investment focused across three main sites, raising aspirations and creating ‘30 new jobs’ as well as ‘additional jobs and opportunities for local residents’.

Tim Gwilliam, leader of Forest of Dean District Council, said: ‘The three linked projects in this bid are incredibly exciting and would build connections across the Forest, provide new jobs and new education opportunities, encourage cohesive communities and help people stay active and healthy through great new sports and leisure facilities.

‘We want to raise aspirations, support ambition and provide new opportunities to help build a better future for people across the Forest, especially our young people.’

The Forest is classed as a category one area under the Levelling Up scheme – the highest level of identified need.

The bid asks for £9m to invest at the Five Acres site near Coleford, bringing new leisure and sports facilities and community space, as well as becoming a satellite facility for Hartpury University and Hartpury College.

It also includes plans for a new £10m University Innovation, Careers and Enterprise Learning Centre at Hartpury and an £880k building refurbishment programme in Cinderford town centre.

The centre would include a new Environmental Laboratory which would aim to spearhead new companies focused on environmental technology based in the Forest of Dean.

Russell Marchant, vice-chancellor, principal and chief executive officer at Hartpury University and Hartpury College, said: ‘We plan to create a world-class centre for innovation, careers and enterprise at Hartpury University and Hartpury College to help cultivate an educational and entrepreneurial pathway for young people, which will be particularly important post-Covid.’

Cllr Chris Brown of Cinderford Town Council said: ‘Our proposals will boost local employment and innovation whilst providing the platform for us to grow and showcase the enormous talent on our doorstep.’

Mr Harper said: ‘Getting this large package of investment would be a fantastic opportunity to increase skills, jobs and opportunities for everyone in the Forest of Dean and that’s why I’m giving this bid my full support.’

The bid proposal will be taken to the Forest of Dean District Council Cabinet before it is submitted on the 18 June deadline set by the government. A decision is expected on the funding in Autumn 2021.

By Andrew Merrell

Follow SoGlos on LinkedIn and sign-up to the weekly SoGlos business newsletter for the very latest Gloucestershire business news stories.

© SoGlos
Friday 04 June 2021

More news you might like...

Lest we forget – Forest of Dean-based sculptor and businesswoman, Caroline Horwood, has created a spectacular memorial which records the names of fallen servicemen from Mitcheldean and Abenhall.

The Forest of Dean sculptor creating a memorial to the district's war heroes

It will be a proud and moving moment when the giant stone war memorial to a Forest of Dean parish’s fallen is unveiled this...

The launch of Gloucester’s Levelling Up Fund bid for £20 million of cash. Stephen Marston, vice chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, Esther Croft of Reef Group, Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council, Collette Finnegan, Mayor of Gloucester; Richard Graham MP, Rod Jenner of Dowdeswell Group, and Maisie Gaffney of Gloucester Music Works, one of the first new tenants of The Forum regeneration of King’s Square. Pictures by Mikal Ludlow.

£20 million of Levelling Up Fund cash would be ‘a shot in the arm for the Gloucester’

Business leaders and political masters behind three transformational projects in Gloucester have called on the government to...

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Confetti Flower Field, this June 2021.

Confetti Flower Field to open for summer

SEE THE SOGLOS VIDEO – The dates have been revealed for the 10 days the Confetti Flower Field in Pershore will be open...

The rooms and exhibitions at Sudeley Castle reopen to the public this June 2021, after being closed for 15 months due to the pandemic.

Sudeley Castle reopens fully for the first time since lockdown

The historic Cotswold venue is reopening its indoor rooms and exhibitions for the first time since lockdown began in March...

Nominate your #GlosHeroes for a chance to have them featured on SoGlos.

SoGlos is on the hunt for #GlosHeroes

SoGlos has teamed up with St. James’s Place Wealth Management and Gloucestershire County Council to celebrate the people in...

Don’t miss

Unmissable highlights