Chapter 2

Cinderford and Ruspidge

Introduction
2.1 Cinderford and Ruspidge are located on a valley side on the eastern fringe of the Forest of Dean. The two settlements are linked, with Cinderford situated in the north and Ruspidge in the south in a steeper and narrower part of the valley. The combined population of Cinderford and Ruspidge is approximately 10,000. It is a principal settlement in Structure Plan terms. To the east Cinderford stretches outside the boundary of the Forest and to the west onto a flat valley floor abutting the edge of the statutory forest. The presence of the valley side and the forest edge are major constraints on potential development sites in Cinderford. Cinderford and Ruspidge form one of the four principal settlements in the District.
2.2 The historical evolution of Cinderford and Ruspidge is closely linked with the growth of the iron and coal industries. The traditional, rather haphazard settlement pattern is still visible in the layout and form of the town's older residential and commercial areas, but is now interspersed with newer infill development. The remnants of the industrial past are less visible. Most of the old industrial buildings have been demolished and many sites have been redeveloped. Now only a small number of mine buildings and other features related to the coal, iron and transport industries remain.
2.3 Since the last Local Plan, Cinderford has grown modestly. The largest single housing development to be completed was the erection of 26 flats at the former lorry park on Valley Road. More recently, in 2000, redevelopment work is nearing completion at Hilldene in the north east of Cinderford to replace blocks of local authority flats.
2.4 Cinderford is a major employment centre in the Forest of Dean. The present industrial area centred on the Forest Vale Industrial Estate is almost completely developed and is the most extensive in the Forest of Dean and occupies much of the flat valley floor to the west of the town.
2.5 Of all the Forest towns Cinderford is in the greatest need of revitalisation and is perceived as such by local residents and by the Forest of Dean District Council. There is a need for investment, especially in the town centre, and for the continued development of employment both on new land to be identified and within the existing town.
2.6 Cinderford and Ruspidge are set in attractive locations. The statutory Forest surrounds the town and there are long views of the Forest landscape from the town's high points. The close proximity of the statutory Forest does however restrict development opportunities within Cinderford.
Development Strategy
2.7 The Plan strategy has the aim of revitalisation of the Forest of Dean, with a particular need for action in the south Forest. The key locations for new development to assist revitalisation are the three south Forest towns. Of these, Cinderford has the largest current employment base, principally related to the very extensive industrial area (Forest Vale Industrial Estate) located on the western edge of the town, and has the largest population base. The Plan will propose further development at Cinderford to build upon the role of the town as an important employment and service centre.
2.8 Cinderford also has the greatest need of revitalisation. A series of in-depth investigations of the town and various successful funding bid documents have identified the issues facing the town. These include a town centre lacking vitality and with an under- developed service function, an urban fabric displaying clear signs of decay and the need for renewal, pockets of high levels of social deprivation including low household incomes, low educational attainment, poor health, and other associated deprivation indicators, and a relatively narrow employment base.
2.9 Cinderford is identified in the Council's Corporate Plan and in this Local Plan as the priority target for action to achieve community revitalisation. A Cinderford Partnership has been established to provide the focus for a wide variety of actions. A vital role for the Local Plan is to provide a framework of policies and proposals which will promote development and investment that will contribute to revitalisation.
2.10 The strategy for Cinderford therefore will:
  • Provide for continued opportunities for employment development through land allocations
    .
  • Identify improvements to the town centre in order to create opportunities for employment, investment in improving the urban fabric, and for developing the vitality and viability of the town centre
    .
  • Provide for housing land opportunities to increase the catchment population base of the town and town centre, and to provide a range of new housing stock, including affordable housing
    .
  • Promote the redevelopment of brownfield sites and allocate sites for mixed use development, particularly where there are opportunities for associated urban improvements and making better use of land
    .
  • Identify a transport network for Cinderford which would lead to a reduction of lorry movements through the town centre
    .
  • Enable additional investment in essential infrastructure and services for the benefit of Cinderford
.
2.11 Around 20 hectares of land will be allocated for employment use, sites will be allocated for development in the town centre, mixed use sites will be allocated for both employment and housing uses, and land will be allocated for around 440 dwellings, environmental improvement schemes will be identified and brownfield sites proposed for redevelopment to improve the urban fabric.
2.12 The strategy will make use of opportunities for the development of land. It is acknowledged however, that there are major constraints to overcome, as the physical form of Cinderford, the topography and the presence of the statutory Forest boundary so close to the existing urban edge all provide major constraints. There will be a need to concentrate opportunities on previously developed sites in many cases. Many of these sites have associated problems, for example, of potential instability from underground workings, or contamination, fragmented ownerships, and existing uses.
2.13 In implementing the above strategy, the Council will work with the Cinderford Partnership and utilise potential funding sources from the Single Regeneration Budget, Coalfields Regeneration funding, and the Regional Development Agency, all of which have indicated or have identified a resource allocation to Cinderford.
Employment
2.14 Opportunities for further employment development at Cinderford will be identified in relation to the allocation of land to the west of Cinderford and in the Newtown area, mixed use sites within the town, and opportunities in the town centre. The town centre will be considered later in this chapter.
2.15 The principal concentration of employment land is at the existing Forest Vale and Whimsey industrial areas, where approximately 13 hectares of undeveloped land is available, as indicated by the two policies below.
Employment Allocation - Forest Vale and Whimsey Industrial Estates

 

 

(R)F.Cinderford 1

Around 10 hectares of land within Forest Vale and Whimsey Industrial Estates will be allocated for B1, B2 and B8 employment use.

 
2.16 The above land principally comprises the undeveloped parts of the existing industrial estates at Forest Vale, and the adjoining Whimsey Industrial Estate. It includes various undeveloped plots available for development.
2.17 The above allocated land is a vital employment resource for Cinderford, given the constraints upon identifying additional land for employment. The Council will strictly apply policy (R)FE.3, which restricts the change of use of employment land. The Council will also implement the provisions of Policy (R)FE.2 to these established employment sites, particularly with respect to seeking enhancements to the environmental quality and amenity of this employment area.
2.18 The capacity of the overall industrial area identified by the above policy may well exceed 10 hectares. This is because there is land within the allocated area which is presently occupied but is under-used, or in a semi-derelict state. These conditions particularly apply in an area lying in an arc between Steam Mills Road and Valley Road. Policy (R)FE.2 would permit the further intensification or redevelopment of this area for employment use. Policy(R)F.Cinderford 7 below allocates such an under-developed area for mixed residential and business use.
Employment Allocation - Newtown
(R)F.Cinderford 2

3 hectares of land at Newtown will be allocated for B1, B2 and B8 employment use. Only B1 use will be permitted adjoining the existing residential area of Newtown in order to protect residential amenity. A contribution will be required towards the construction of the Forest Vale spine road through the site.

2.19 The allocated site principally comprises an open field, together with some mixed industrial and residential uses occupying a southern section of the site. On the western boundary of the allocated site the Plan provides for the Forest Vale spine road extension, from the vicinity of the Winner Garage in the south to a junction with Steam Mills road in the north.
2.20 This is a key site for prospective employment development in Cinderford as it is a relatively unconstrained site in physical terms, although it will require the provision of services and access. There is the potential to include the occupied parts of the allocated site (which are not intensively used) through redevelopment. The Regional Development Agency have identified the land as a potential site for investment.
2.21 The development of the site will be required to contribute to the proposed construction of the Forest Vale spine road extension, from which it can obtain access.
2.22 Development will be restricted to B1 use only adjoining the existing residential area of Newtown on the northern boundary of the allocated site. Proposals will be assessed to ensure they do not detract from the present level of amenity for existing dwellings.
Employment Allocation - Northern United
(R)F.Cinderford 3

6.7 hectares of land at Northern United will be allocated for B1, B2 and B8 employment use. Proposals for development will be required to contribute to the proposed western access road to Cinderford which will also provide access to this allocated site.

2.23 Northern United largely comprises a former colliery site now occupied in part by a variety of businesses. Adjoining the occupied area is additional vacant land which is included in the allocation. A stoned forest track runs through the allocated site from the A.4136 and continues to join Forest Vale road, which is the principal spine road for the industrial area of Cinderford. The Plan proposes that a new western access road to Cinderford from the A.4136 should follow the general alignment of the stoned track, and eventually should form part of the principal lorry access route for the town. (See policy (R)F.Cinderford 14).
2.24 The allocated site has been agreed as a priority investment site by the Regional Development Agency and is eligible for Coalfields Regeneration funding. It is anticipated that investment will be made within the Plan period to provide infrastructure, tackle any issues of instability or contamination, and rationalise uses to enable additional development to take place. This is regarded as a key development opportunity for Cinderford. The eventual redevelopment of the site is likely to retain some users, in which case a total area of 6.7 hectares may not ultimately be available for development.
2.25 Access to the site will be from the A.4136. Development will be required to contribute to the improvement of the forest track running through the allocated site to bring it up to a standard suitable to form part of the proposed western access road to Cinderford.
Employment Allocation - Lightmoor

 

 

(R)F.Cinderford 4

1 hectare of land at Lightmoor will be allocated for B1, B2 and B8 employment use. Development will be required to safeguard and enhance the former Engine House within the site.

2.26 Lightmoor is a former colliery site now occupied principally by a timber processing use. There is currently little opportunity for additional development on the site. This situation could change however, and the site offers potential therefore for a future more intensive use. The site is eligible for Coalfields Regeneration funding should the opportunity for redevelopment arise.
2.27 The former colliery engine house within the site is an important historic reminder of the previous use, and is a Listed building. Any development affecting the Listed building or its setting will be required to safeguard the engine house, and where appropriate to contribute to its enhancement.
Mixed Use Allocations
2.28 The urban form of Cinderford contains significant areas of existing mixed development, with employment and residential areas in close proximity and sometimes intermingled. There are areas which provide specific opportunities for promoting redevelopment in the form of mixed use development sites. Three such sites in Cinderford are allocated in this Plan, at Newtown, Valley Road and Station Road. Other opportunities may also arise, and will be considered under policy (R)FE.3 which provides for alternative uses, while still retaining an emphasis upon protecting employment land for continued beneficial employment use.
Mixed Use Allocation - Newtown
(R)F.Cinderford 5

6 hectares of land at Newtown will be allocated to accommodate about 70 dwellings and about 3.4 hectares of employment land for B1, B2 and B8 uses. The development will be required to:

  1. Provide for the construction of the proposed Forest Vale spine road extension where it passes through the allocated site
  2. Provide for strategic landscaping to the site boundaries and within the site, incorporating existing landscape features where appropriate
  3. Provide for safe and convenient pedestrian and cycling links to the adjoining highway network, to the town centre and to continue the Linear Park footpath
  4. Provide for access to land to the west of the site allocated for recreation and leisure use under policy (R)F.Cinderford 17
  5. Provide for an appropriate number of affordable housing units.

    In addition the Council will seek to negotiate the following:

  6. An appropriate contribution to educational provision for the prospective occupiers of the site
  7. An appropriate contribution to youth/adult playspace provision within Cinderford
  8. An appropriate contribution to enhanced bus services to link the site with the principal trip attractors in Cinderford.

2.29 The site allocated by the above policy provides a significant opportunity within Cinderford to provide for both housing and employment uses, the redevelopment of brownfield land with more compatible uses, access to a proposed leisure development area and the opportunity to secure investment in transport infrastructure in relation to the Forest Vale spine road extension. A development brief has been prepared for the site and will be placed on deposit with the Plan as supplementary planning guidance.
2.30 Land to the east of the proposed spine road will be allocated for housing development. The land currently is unused or under-used, and part is an employment site. Existing residential development is located to the north and south of the site. Access to the site will be from the proposed spine road extension which will have a junction with Steam Mills Road. The development will be required to fund the construction of the spine road through the site. Newtown Road is unsuited to provide access to the site. The Council will seek appropriate contributions to the improvement of bus, pedestrian and cycle links to local facilities and to the town centre, to educational provision, affordable housing and play space provision.
2.31 To the west of the proposed spine road alignment a site of 3.3 hectares is allocated for B1, B2 and B8 employment uses. This site is a key employment development proposal and is anticipated to be available for development. The site has the potential to be able to provide a good quality environment capable of attracting a variety of uses. A high standard of development will be sought. Where the site fronts residential development employment uses will normally be restricted to B1, or other conditions applied to protect residential amenity. There will be a need to investigate ground conditions as the site has previously been utilised for open cast coal and clay extraction.
2.32 Development of the allocated site will be required to provide for vehicular access to the west, where land is allocated for tourism, recreational and leisure use.
Mixed Use Allocation - Station Street

 

 

(R) F. Cinderford 6

8.2 hectares of land at Station Street will be allocated to accommodate mixed uses including B1 employment use, community uses and residential use. B2 and B8 uses will be permitted only within the existing site occupied by the Station Street Business Park and the Cannop Foundry. Development will be required to:

  1. Provide for safe and convenient pedestrian and cycling links to the town centre
  2. Provide for off site highway improvements to enable appropriate access to the site
  3. Provide for an appropriate number of affordable housing units.

    In addition the Council will seek to negotiate the following:

  4. An appropriate contribution to education provision for the prospective occupiers of the site
  5. An appropriate contribution to youth/adult playspace provision in Cinderford
  6. Provide for an appropriate contribution to improving or replacing a community building for the benefit of site occupiers.

2.33 This is a large site located in close proximity to the town centre. The principal existing uses comprise a large industrial area and a site formerly occupied as an extensive annexe to the Forest of Dean College. The two areas are separated internally by a residential enclave.
2.34 The industrial area comprises a Business Park with a variety of occupiers and a foundry business adjoining. Both have secured planning permissions for residential development in the past. The permission on the foundry site has lapsed, but is current on the Business Park. It is anticipated that the present uses will continue through the early part of the Plan period, but that residential development will occur during the Plan period. Both sites make valuable contributions to local employment. If they come forward for redevelopment both residential and B1 employment uses will be considered appropriate, and also community uses.
2.35 It is considered likely that the former College site will be redeveloped within the Plan period. While housing will be expected to be the principal use, employment uses in the B1 class and community uses will also be considered appropriate on the College site. Land to the east of the College will be suitable for B1 uses.
2.36 There will need to be provision for appropriate vehicular access to the site, and off-site provision for pedestrian and cycle links to the town centre together with an appropriate contribution to educational provision and to affordable housing provision on the site. The Council will also seek to negotiate a contribution to the provision of community facilities. A development brief has been prepared for the site and will be placed on deposit with the Plan as supplementary planning guidance.
Mixed Use Allocation - Valley Road

 

 

(R)F.Cinderford 7

1 hectare of land at Valley Road will be allocated to accommodate B1 employment use and about 30 dwellings. The development will be required to provide for safe and convenient pedestrian and cycling links to the town centre and an appropriate number of affordable housing units. The Council will seek to negotiate:

  1. An appropriate contribution to educational provision for the occupiers of the site
  2. An appropriate contribution to youth/adult playspace provision within Cinderford
  3. An appropriate contribution to off site highway works to provide safe vehicular access to the site
  4. An appropriate contribution to enhanced bus services to link to the town centre.

The Council will seek to ensure a comprehensive development of the allocated site.

2.37 The allocated site is currently occupied principally by a coach depot and a breakers yard. It provides an opportunity for redevelopment for both residential and B1 employment use. The Council will seek to ensure that the site is developed in a comprehensive manner, as provided by Policy (R)FE.3. A development brief has been prepared for the site and will be placed on deposit with the Plan to form supplementary planning guidance.
Housing
2.38 The Plan strategy provides for the concentration of new housing development on the towns in the District. Provision will be made for around 440 dwellings in Cinderford.
2.39 Since 1991 approximately 300 dwellings have been completed in the Cinderford and Ruspidge area, and there are outstanding consents for around 220 dwellings, with a further 42 under construction at the start of 1999. Housing completions have tended to slow down in Cinderford in the latter part of the last decade as the housing land supply has decreased.
2.40 Only one greenfield site is identified in the Plan for housing development, for 150 dwellings at St. Whites Farm. The remaining sites are predominantly previously used or under-used land, including mixed use sites as referred to earlier in this chapter.
Housing Allocation - St. Whites Farm

 

 

(R)F.Cinderford 8

8.1 hectares of land at St. Whites Farm will be allocated to accommodate about 150 dwellings. Development will be required to:

  1. Provide for strategic landscaping to the site boundaries, and within the site, incorporating existing landscape features and hedgerows where appropriate
  2. Provide for safe and convenient pedestrian and cycle links to the surrounding highway network and to the town centre
  3. Provide for pedestrian access to footpaths adjoining the site
  4. Make available within the site sufficient land to accommodate the needs of St. Whites primary school for either relocation or expansion
  5. Provide for an appropriate number of affordable housing units.

    In addition the Council will seek to negotiate the following:

  6. An appropriate contribution to educational provision for the prospective occupiers of the site
  7. An appropriate contribution to off site highway works necessary to accommodate the vehicle movements arising from the site
  8. An appropriate contribution to enhanced bus services to link the site with principal trip attractors in Cinderford
  9. An appropriate contribution to youth/adult playspace provision within Cinderford.

2.41 St. Whites Farm is located on rising ground to the south of Cinderford, and lies within Ruspidge Parish. It abuts the existing irregular but almost continuously developed frontage dwellings to the B.4226. Much of the site is elevated above that road and enjoys good long views over the forest to the west of Cinderford.
2.42 The boundaries of the allocated site are carefully drawn to achieve containment of the development within the landscape in relation to existing hedge-lines and trees and ensuring that development remains below the ridge-line to the east. Access to the site will be from the B.4226 to the north.
2.43 The adjoining St. Whites primary school is on a split and highly constrained site. Provision will need to be made within the allocated site for either a new school site, or an extension of the site area of the existing school. Detailed discussions will be required with the County Education department to establish the requirement, including the potential for vehicular access to the school through the allocated site. The development will be required to contribute to provision for the educational needs of the site occupants.
2.44 The allocated development capacity of the site is around 150 dwellings, reflecting the need for substantial internal site landscaping and open space provision, and the possible need for providing a new school site.
2.45 Appropriate contributions will be sought for off-site improvements at the junction of St. Whites Road and Valley Road, to improvements to the footpath and cycle links with the town centre, and to enhanced bus links to the town centre. The Council will negotiate an affordable housing provision on the site based on information from the Housing Waiting List and the Housing Needs Study.
Housing Allocation - Nailbridge
(R)F.Cinderford 9

2.8 hectares of land at Nailbridge will be allocated to accommodate about 70 dwellings. The development will be required to:

  1. Provide for strategic landscaping to the site boundaries, and within the site, incorporating existing landscape features and hedgerows where appropriate
  2. Provide for safe and convenient pedestrian and cycle links to the surrounding highway network and to the town centre.
  3. Provide for pedestrian access to footpaths adjoining the site
  4. Provide for the continuation of leisure access through the site to conform to policy F. Cinderford 16
  5. Provide for an appropriate number of affordable housing units.

    In addition the Council will seek to negotiate the following:

  6. An appropriate contribution to educational provision for the prospective occupiers of the site
  7. An appropriate contribution to enhanced bus services to link the site with principal trip attractors in Cinderford
  8. An appropriate contribution to youth/adult playspace provision within Cinderford.

2.46 The land allocated by this policy comprises two parts. The northern area is the site of the disused Nailbridge sawmill. It is separated from the southern part by existing sporadic low density development. The southern part comprises a field which adjoins the aforementioned residential area to the north. A recreation ground containing a football pitch lies to the south. Both sites gain access separately from a minor roadway with a junction to the A.4151 to the west.
2.47 The prior use of the sawmill site may have given rise to issues of ground instability and contamination. The allocated site is bisected by a culverted watercourse in the sawmill area, which continues to become the western boundary of the pasture field. There is a risk of flooding from the watercourse. Proposals for development will need to address the above issues.
2.48 An improved access will be required from the A.4151, to provide access to each of the two parts of the allocated site. The Council will negotiate appropriate contributions to improved bus, cycle and pedestrian links to provide for access to local facilities and to the town centre, a contribution to educational needs if required, and to the provision of affordable housing on the allocated site. A development brief has been prepared for the site and will be placed on deposit with the Plan as supplementary planning guidance. The brief indicates a possible internal link between the two parts of the allocated site.
Housing Allocation - Valley Road

 

 

(R)F.Cinderford 10

2.6 hectares of land at Valley Road will be allocated to accommodate about 60 dwellings and about 0.8 hectares of amenity land and playspace. The development will be required to:

  1. Provide for strategic landscaping to the site boundaries and within the site, incorporating existing landscape features where appropriate
  2. Provide for safe and convenient pedestrian and cycle links to the surrounding highway network and to the town centre
  3. Provide for an appropriate number of affordable housing units
  4. Lay out and provide for the future maintenance of about 0.8 hectare of amenity land and playspace.

    In addition to the above the Council will seek to negotiate the following:

  5. An appropriate contribution to educational provision for the prospective occupiers of the site
  6. An appropriate contribution to enhanced bus services to link the site with principal trip attractors in Cinderford
  7. An appropriate contribution to youth/adult playspace provision within Cinderford.

2.49 About 1.8 hectares of the allocated site is occupied by an abbatoir with associated open land to its east which acts as a cordon sanitaire for surrounding dwellings. It is this site principally which is proposed for residential development. The northern part of the allocated site, comprising about 0.8 hectare of land, is presently used as an open amenity area contributing to the cordon sanitaire around the abbatoir.
2.50 If the abbatoir should relocate there is an opportunity to re-develop the site for a mixture of residential and open space uses. The open space provision on the site should be substantial, as indicated by the policy. The precise disposition of open and developed land within the site will only be determined by a detailed application. However, a substantial consolidated area of the site should be designed to accommodate the playspace requirements of the development and a surrounding amenity area. The development will be required to make secure provision for the future maintenance of the play and amenity area.
Town Centre
2.51 Cinderford town centre is not thriving. The town centre Health Checks study (1999) concluded it was in a neutral state of health, where indicators gave cause for some concern about the ability of the town in its present form to fulfill its potential, and to adequately cater for the needs of the catchment population, retailers and investors. Initiatives were considered to be necessary to improve the functioning of the town centre
2.52 The above study did not conclude that the town centre was in decline. It did establish that it is vulnerable, particularly to competition from Coleford and Lydney, as well as to other centres outside the District. Particular features of concern were the poor pedestrian environment, the unattractive wider environment, neglected buildings, a high level of vacant premises and pedestrian/vehicle conflict. Coleford and Lydney both offer clear opportunities for retail development sites within their town centres. The dense urban character and the topography of Cinderford offers much more restricted opportunity. There is a need to be aware of the potential impact upon Cinderford of town centre development in other centres, and to promote such opportunities in Cinderford.
2.53 There are also some strong factors which underpin the prospects for enhancing the functioning of Cinderford town centre. It has by far the highest pedestrian flows in the prime shopping area of any of the District towns, it is the second largest centre in terms of numbers of shopping units, it has a very stable retail base, and with the Westgate store and Woolworths it has two important retail attractors for comparison goods.
2.54 The need for revitalisation in Cinderford has been established earlier. Improving the performance and attractiveness of the town centre will play a key role in achieving this objective. There is a very high outflow of expenditure from Cinderford for both convenience and comparison goods expenditure (60% and 80% respectively). The strategy must be to aim to recapture a proportion of this lost expenditure in the form of new retail floorspace and other investment in the town centre, to provide for new jobs, investment to refurbish the environment and to improve amenity for town centre users, and to increase the level of services and facilities locally accessible to the catchment population.
2.55 The Plan therefore will contain policies and proposals to:
  • Identify and allocate sites for development
  • Encourage mixed uses in town centre premises
  • Identify opportunities for environmental improvements
  • Identify opportunities for traffic management to reduce pedestrian/vehicle conflict
  • Propose additional car parking and associated pedestrian links to the town centre.

2.56 The Council will work with the private sector, other bodies and particularly the Cinderford Partnership to develop and implement the above proposals.
Environmental Improvements
2.57 A scheme to improve the environment of the Triangle area is nearing completion. This will have important beneficial effects. The Council, with its partners, will now proceed to develop and implement a complementary scheme to extend improvements from the High Street adjoining the Triangle up to the Dockham Road/Co-op supermarket area. These two schemes encompass most of the primary shopping frontages of Cinderford. The latter scheme will also include a proposal to develop new public car parking at Heywood Road (including the Marshall's Lane car park), and provide improved pedestrian linkages to the High Street. The proposal will be complemented by the current planning consent for a 500m2 net retail floorspace extension to the Co-op supermarket, with associated amenity improvements to the highway frontage in the Dockham Road area.
Car Parking
2.58 Most of the town centre car parks are operating near capacity at peak times. Only a small percentage of the off street car parks are in public ownership. Adequate and convenient town centre parking is an essential element of the effective functioning of small and rural towns such as Cinderford. The extension of the Co-op supermarket will reduce the available off street parking.
2.59 As noted above therefore, it is proposed to allocate land at Heywood Road to construct a new public car park. The scheme will incorporate the existing Marshall's Lane car park which is poorly used, partly because of inadequate vehicular and pedestrian access. The provision of this car park, with associated public toilets and improved pedestrian access to High Street, is a key development proposal for Cinderford town centre in the Plan period, particularly when linked to the environmental improvement scheme noted above.
Town Centre Transport
2.60 The A.4151 passes through Cinderford town centre and provides access to other routes which form part of the lorry route network for the Forest of Dean. The alignment of the High Street in particular leads to clear problems of vehicle/pedestrian conflict, with a relatively narrow carriageway, pavements which are of inadequate width in places, and with most of High Street being on quite a steep incline.
2.61 The Council proposes to work with the County Council to develop a traffic management strategy and proposals which would aim to reduce the level of conflict in the town centre, and where possible to manage the routeing of HGV traffic away from the town centre.
Development Proposals
Former Coach Depot Site
(R)F.Cinderford 11

0.28 hectares comprising the site of a former coach depot will be allocated for retail use primarily and associated car parking. Other uses appropriate to a town centre will be permissable but shall not result in a loss of ground floor retail frontage to High Street/Dockham Road. Development will be required to contribute to environmental improvements in High Street/Dockham Road.

2.62 The allocated site contains a small number of retail premises fronting the public road. However, most of the site is in a semi-derelict condition arising from the demolition and clearance of the former coach depot. This part of the site is used for off-road car parking. The car parking area is in private ownership.
2.63 Adjoining the site is the Co-op supermarket, its associated car parking, and a bus stop and waiting area. The Co-op have secured a planning consent for a retail extension which involves the layout out of the allocated site for retail use and car parking, with associated environmental improvements to the site frontage facing the public highway. This scheme has now commenced.
2.64 The allocation policy reflects the above consent. The policy sets out that the primary use of the site should be for retail, particularly as it relates to ensuring ground floor retail uses to the site frontage adjoining the public highway. Contributions will be sought towards the environmental improvements proposed by the Council in the High Street/Dockham Road area in the event of a new application being submitted for the allocated site. Provision should be made for pedestrian access east-west through the site to access land allocated by (R)F. Cinderford 12. A development brief has been prepared for the site.
Heywood Road Site
(R)F.Cinderford 12

0.38 hectares of land will be allocated adjoining Heywood Road/High Street for retail use. Other uses appropriate to a town centre will be permissable but should not result in a significant loss of continuity of retail frontage at ground floor level. Development will be required to contribute to environmental improvements in the High Street/ Dockham Road area.

2.65 The frontage to this allocated site comprises a secondary retail frontage at present. It is positioned however, between the primary shopping area of the Triangle and a principal trip attractor at the Co-op. It is a prominent frontage within the town centre environment. The Council propose to undertake an environmental improvement scheme between the High Street and Dockham Road. There is the opportunity therefore to improve the performance of this site within the town centre. Development will be required to contribute to the above improvements.
2.66 The primary use of ground floors within this frontage will be for retail purposes. However, given its current secondary frontage status it would be permissable to permit other appropriate town centre uses at ground floor level, provided that cumulatively they would not result in a loss of continuity of retail frontage. Provision should be made as appropriate to link to the east-west pedestrian access from (R)F. Cinderford 11, and to provide for pedestrian access through to Heywood Road. A development brief has been prepared for the site.
High Street/Marshall's Lane Site
(R)F.Cinderford 13
0.72 hectares of land at high street/Marshall's Lane will be allocated for retail and other uses appropriate to a town centre, and car parking to the rear of the High Street frontage. Within the primary shopping frontage shown on the Proposals Map Insert policy (R)FS. 3 will operate to ensure continuity of the retail frontage. Development will be required to:
  1. Provide for pedestrian access from the proposed car park to the high street
  2. Contribue to environmental improvements to the High Street/Dockham Road area.

2.67 A significant part of the High Street frontage to this site constitutes a primary shopping frontage. It will be most important to retain this function, and policy (R)FS.3 will be strictly applied to achieve this aim. The remainder of the High Street frontage is considered to be a weak frontage, with evidence of poor condition among the existing buildings.
2.68 The proposed environmental improvement scheme for High Street/Dockham Road will aim to secure enhancements to address the problems of this weak frontage. In addition, it is proposed to develop the land to the rear of the High Street for public car parking. Opportunities will be taken to secure pedestrian access from the car park through to the High Street frontage. The combination of these measures should lead to the improvement of the weak frontage, and support the primary shopping frontage. The provision of additional off-street car parking is important to the proper functioning of the town centre, due to the lack of capacity of existing car parking at peak periods, and the loss of some existing car parking as a result of the Co-op extension. Development of the allocated site will be required to contribute to the improvement scheme for the High Street/Dockham Road area. A development brief has been prepared for the site.
Transport
2.69 The principal east-west route through the Forest of Dean is the A.4136 which is located immediately to the north of Cinderford. The County Council lorry management strategy seeks to direct HGV traffic with appropriate destinations onto this route. Cinderford is connected to the A.4136 by the A.4151, which runs through Steam Mills, the High Street and the town centre, and through residential streets. The A.4151 also provides the main access into the principal employment area of Cinderford to the west of the town.
2.70 The poor alignment and conflicting land uses along the A.4151 generates problems of vehicle/pedestrian conflict. It is proposed therefore to protect land for the future construction of a western access road into Cinderford from the area of Northern United to the existing Forest Vale spine road. This will provide for HGV and other traffic with a destination in Cinderford's principal employment area. In effect it will also function as a bypass to the west of Cinderford, eventually linking the A.4136 with Cinderford Bridge and the B.4226 Speech House road, the latter giving access to the central Forest communities.
2.71 The western access road would need to be funded principally from development contributions. Land has been allocated alongside sections of the route which may bring forward such contributions. It may be however, that progress on completing the route will extend beyond the end of the Plan period. The route should be identified and safeguarded however, as a strategic transport proposal for Cinderford.
2.72 At present the adopted Plan safeguards a further route, known as the Forest Vale spine road extension. This route continues the present Forest Vale road from the vicinity of Winner Garage to a junction with Steam Mills road. The purpose of the route proposal is to relieve traffic, particularly HGV movements, along a section of Steam Mills road and give direct access to the employment area west of Cinderford, and also function as a western bypass as described above.
2.73 It is proposed to continue to safeguard this route as it is possible it may be capable of being constructed during the present Plan period. It will need to be funded principally from development contributions, and land has been allocated for development in the Plan period along the length of the route. When constructed it will serve the purpose identified above and will give partial relief to the Steam Mills area. When the western access road is completed it would be possible to consider traffic management measures in Steam Mills to mitigate the effects of traffic, and manage the movement of HGV traffic.
2.74 The District Council will work with the County council on investigating and implementing a traffic management system in Cinderford which would aim at reducing the level of vehicle/pedestrian conflict and HGV traffic within Cinderford, particularly in the High Street and town centre and at Steam Mills. The investigation will also encompass the potential for developing the Forest Vale road alignment as a bypass to Cinderford, and the consequences for other parts of the highway network, at Cinderford Bridge and on St. Whites Road for example.
Western Access Route - Safeguarding
(R)F.Cinderford 14

Land will be safeguarded as shown on the Proposals Map Inset to enable the construction of a western access road into Cinderford.

2.75 A route for the western access road is shown on the Proposals Map Inset. Further design work on the route will be required. Policies (R)F. Cinderford 3 and 17 identify the need for development gaining access from this route to contribute to the cost of its construction.
Forest Vale Spine Road Extension - Safeguarding
(R)F.Cinderford 15

Land will be safeguarded as shown on the Proposals Map Inset to enable the construction of the Forest Vale spine road extension to Steam Mills.

2.76 Construction of this road will provide more direct access from the A.4136 into the principal employment area of Cinderford, and provide some relief for Steam Mills. It will also give access to land allocated for residential and employment use, and indirectly to land allocated for recreation and leisure use. Construction of the route will principally be funded by development contributions, as provided for by policies (R)F.Cinderford 2 and (R)F.Cinderford 5.
Environment, Leisure and Recreation
2.77 The origin of the modern town of Cinderford is closely related to the exploitation of coal and minerals around the edge of the statutory forest. Cinderford developed in a rather haphazard way along a hillside bordering the Forest boundary. The present urban form reflects these origins, with a linear structure, a quite dense urban form and a network of roads and tracks intersecting frequently at acute angles. The industrial origins of the town are evident and the quality of the built environment is poor in many areas.
2.78 Improvements to the urban environment of Cinderford will be sought through the application of the policies and proposals in the Plan. In assessing development proposals in Cinderford particular emphasis will be given to addressing issues of environmental amenity. Appropriate measures will be sought as part of developments to improve the environmental quality of buildings, the urban townscape, employment areas and open spaces.
2.79 There is a major shortfall in Cinderford of both childrens playspace and sports pitches, a deficit of around 18 hectares and 16 hectares respectively in relation to NPFA standards. It will be important therefore to secure playspace provision on new housing developments, and contributions to new sports pitch provision. The physical constraints in Cinderford limit the option for sports pitch provision. An allocation is made by (R)F.Cinderford 17 which includes provision for sports pitches near Steam Mills Lake.
Cinderford Linear Park

 

 

(R)F.Cinderford 16

Land comprising the Cinderford Linear Park will be further developed for leisure and recreational use. Additional land will be allocated as an extension to the Linear Park at Nailbridge.

2.80 The Linear Park as established extends from Cinderford Bridge in the south to the Hawkwell Inclosure in the north. It is a major outdoor recreation and leisure asset for Cinderford. Footpaths have been established throughout the site, and connect to other existing footpaths which continue to the Nailbridge causeway and the A.4136. An extension to the Linear Park is proposed on land adjoining and to the south of the A.4136. Other land is similarly allocated in the Drybrook/Harrow Hill village chapter to the north of the A.4136.
2.81 Development proposed in the Steam Mills area ((R)F.Cinderford 17) will be required to ensure the continuation of the existing footpaths linking the Linear Park and its proposed extension. The type of tourism and leisure development proposed will be compatible with the continued recreational use of the Linear Park.
Steam Mills Lake Recreation/Leisure Site
(R)F.Cinderford 17

15 hectares of land surrounding Steam Mills Lake will be allocated for leisure and recreation use to include the provision of sports pitches and buildings for outdoor sports, and commercial uses for recreation, leisure and tourism. Contributions will be sought from developments as appropriate towards the construction of the proposed western access road to Cinderford.

2.82 The allocated site currently comprises the northern section of the Linear Park. It is presently used solely for outdoor recreation and leisure, primarily walking and fishing in Steam Mills Lake. The site formerly was used for open cast coal extraction and subsequently clay extraction. The site lies within the statutory Forest boundary but the effect of the mineral extraction and poor restoration at the time has rendered it of little use for afforestation.
2.83 It is considered that the site is capable of being used more intensively for recreation and leisure use, and possibly tourism. In particular there is the potential to lay out additional sports pitches which would help remedy the significant deficit in youth/adult outdoor play provision in Cinderford. It may be a suitable site for the relocation of an existing sports club. It would be acceptable to permit additional buildings to assist the establishment of a sports use on the site.
2.84 There are a number of water features on the site, including a large lake resulting from previous mineral extraction. The site offers possibilities for a more intensive form of outdoor recreation and leisure development or tourism.
2.85 Given the topography of the site it is likely that sports pitches would be located to the north of Steam Mills Lake. Access to this area would be from the mixed development area to the east. Development proposing to gain access from the present forest track forming the southern boundary of the allocated site would be required to contribute to the making up of the roadway to comprise part of the proposed western access route into Cinderford.
Ruspidge - Restriction on Development

 

 

(R)F.Cinderford 18

Residential development including infilling will not be permitted in the southern part of Ruspidge as shown on the Proposals Map Inset. Exceptions will be made only where proposals would result in a significant improvement to the built environment and amenity of the area.

2.86 The area in Ruspidge identified on the Proposals Map Inset has a distinctive character of layout and style of building which is strongly representative of the original haphazard pattern of development of Cinderford. This is attractive in itself and is of historical relevance. It is likely that this pattern has been maintained because of the poor access into the area, which is characterised by narrow lanes, which are themselves an attractive feature. It is proposed to restrict development in this rea both to maintain the present character, and to reflect the difficulty of access to the area.

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Forest of Dean District Local Plan Review, 1st Deposit Draft. July 2000


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