Chapter 16

Drybrook and Harrow Hill

16.1 Drybrook and Harrow Hill are two settlements which are physically joined together. Their joint population in January 2000 was approximately 1700, making it one of the larger villages in the District. Located on the edge of the coalfield outcrop on the fringes of the Statutory Forest, Drybrook and Harrow Hill form part of the Forest Ring of villages.
16.2 Drybrook is larger than Harrow Hill and has undergone greater levels of change. Between 1981 - 1991 Drybrook experienced a relatively high level of growth bringing forward 53 new dwellings. This level of growth has now subsided with limited residential development taking place during the period 1991 to January 2000.
16.3 Drybrook and Harrow Hill have experienced two main periods of growth, firstly during the last century as the coal and metal industries expanded and secondly in more recent years through the construction of large Local Authority housing estates in Drybrook. Smaller private housing developments have also been constructed in Drybrook, producing a consolidated and quite intensively developed form. Whilst Drybrook and Harrow Hill are physically joined together the two have different characters.
16.4 Drybrook displays evidence of its industrial heritage. Much of the built form is quite plain in character and suffers particularly from external influences such as the intrusive nature of heavy lorries originating from Drybrook Quarry. This heavy traffic has a detrimental effect upon the local environment in terms of noise, vibration, fumes and intrusion. Other traffic also has a detrimental effect. Within the centre of the village is a variety of shops, supported by other services such as the school, doctors surgery, village hall and several churches. Due to the linear nature and compact form of the village there is little open space within the built up area. A play area and rugby field are located on the edge of the village.
16.5 There is a wide range of local employment available in Drybrook, both within the village centre and the area of Nailbridge located to the south of the village. In addition both Cinderford and Mitcheldean are accessible and offer a range of employment opportunities.
16.6 Harrow Hill displays characteristics which are typical of a Forest Ring settlement, despite recent residential infilling. There are very large areas of forest waste remaining within the open and disaggregated settlement form, together with enclosed paddocks and small fields. An extensive network of tracks and paths interweave through the blocks of development. Traditional Forest cottages and the use of local materials are all quite evident. Harrow Hill has no facilities or services other than the Holy Trinity Forest Church and a social club. The only formal recreation spaces are two private football club grounds. However access is available to extensive informal recreational space on forest waste areas.
16.7 Both Drybrook and Harrow Hill are visually prominent within the landscape as they are situated on elevated hillsides. They are set within the Special Landscape Area of the Plan.
Development Strategy
16.8 The strategy for Drybrook and Harrow Hill is to provide for future housing development within Drybrook where potential exists for the development of groups of dwellings and infilling, together with two sites for residential development which will bring forward between 40 - 45 new dwellings over the Plan period. A restrictive policy will apply to new development at Harrow Hill in order to retain the special built form of the area.
16.9 The Plan will promote employment opportunities over the Plan period. The strategy provides for additional employment development in the Nailbridge area which offers the opportunity for further development or redevelopment. Development proposals on this site will be required to implement a programme of environmental improvements.
16.10 The strategy will continue to support proposals for environmental improvements within the centre of Drybrook. The success of any proposals to revitalise the village centre will depend on the support of local residents and businesses. Any proposal for environmental improvements will have to have realistic regard to the continued impact of through traffic, including that generated by Drybrook Quarry.
16.11 The overall landscape setting of Drybrook and Harrow Hill is particularly attractive containing a range of open areas which provide opportunities for informal recreation and small scale agricultural activity, including sheep grazing. The strategy will give special protection to these open areas and the surrounding countryside which forms part of the Special Landscape Area of the Plan.
Natural Environment
16.12 A number of opportunities exist within the lower part of the Drybrook Valley for environmental improvements, including the extension of Cinderford Linear Park northwards and possible future land reclamation to the south-west. Environmental improvements within these areas would not only improve the entrance to the village, but also provide improved public access for informal recreation.
Cinderford Linear Park Extension



(R)F.Drybrook/HarrowHill 1

Land identified as Quarry Hill will be developed for informal recreational use to form an extension to Cinderford Linear Park.

16.13 Quarry Hill is comprised of an attractive area of forest waste which has potential to create an extension to the Linear Park, benefiting Drybrook and Harrow Hill in terms of the opportunity for enhanced informal recreational use. Detailed proposals will be drawn up to implement the scheme, which will involve only very minor changes on the ground, with the emphasis on improving public access by foot. Any proposals will need to consider how to connect to the proposed extension of Cinderford Linear Park across the A4136, complimenting Policy (R)F.Cinderford 16.
16.14 The combined population of Drybrook and Harrow Hill in January 2000 was approximately 1700 with an estimated dwelling stock of 710. From 1991 to January 2000 12 dwellings had been completed in Drybrook and Harrow Hill. Planning consent exists for a further 42 new dwellings, 36 in Drybrook and 6 in Harrow Hill. The housing commitments within Drybrook include the redevelopment of two blocks of flats at Hazel Road. It is proposed that a play area will be provided within the redevelopment scheme submitted by Gloucestershire Housing Association. With the exception of this site, one site off Hazel Hill, Drybrook for 9 dwellings and one for 4 dwellings east of Hillside, Harrow Hill, the housing commitments at the beginning 2000 relate to infilling schemes of one and two dwellings.

Population (parish)

Housing Stock

Drybrook Harrow Hill
1981 - 2750



1991 - 2917



2000 - 2947



Housing Allocation - Drybrook Road
(R)F.Drybrook/Harrow Hill 2

1.5 hectares of land off Drybrook Road will be allocated to accommodate approximately 35 new housing units. Development will be required to:

  1. Provide vehicular access from Drybrook Road with a possible secondary access onto High Street
  2. Provide an appropriate number of affordable housing units
  3. Provide for strategic landscaping to the site boundaries and within the site, incorporating existing landscape features and hedgerows where appropriate
  4. Provide a wide landscape screen around the southern site boundary
  5. Provide for pedestrian and cycle links to the centre of Drybrook and the nearby employment area of Nailbridge.

16.15 The above site is located to the south-east of Drybrook village centre. The site is generally well contained to the west and north by the existing built up area, however to the east and south the site forms part of a larger group of fields which form a distinct pattern within the local landscape.
16.16 The site offers the best possible option to meet local housing need to the end of the Plan period 2011. Development of the site should provide for safe and convenient pedestrian and cycle access to the centre of Drybrook, its services and facilities and access to nearby Nailbridge. Further detailed guidance is provided in a development brief prepared for the site.
Housing Allocation - Woodland Road
(R)F.Drybrook/Harrow Hill 3

0.65 hectares of land off Woodland Road will be allocated to accommodate between 10 - 15 new housing units. Development will be required to:

  1. Provide an appropriate number of affordable housing units
  2. Provide for safe and convenient pedestrian and cycle links to the centre of Drybrook.

16.17 The above site is located to the north of Drybrook and is surrounded on three sides by existing residential development. A previous application for housing development on this site was refused on access issues. However the Highway Authority indicate that access could now be achieved from Woodland Road with a possible alternative access from Mannings Road overcoming previous highway constraints.
Harrow Hill
Restriction on Development



(R)F.Drybrook/Harrow Hill 4

Residential development including infilling will not be permitted in Harrow Hill. Exceptions will be made only where proposals would result in a significant improvement to the built environment and would enhance the amenity of the area. All new residential development will be required to complement the established and settled character of the area.

16.18 Harrow Hill is set in an attractive landscape on an elevated hillside. It has the characteristic open and unplanned layout of Forest Ring Settlements. This high degree of prominence and the settlement form results in the settlement being vulnerable to the cumulative effects of residential infilling or unsympathetic development. It has poor vehicular access in places via a network of narrow tracks. Considerable restraint on new infilling is desirable in Harrow Hill, both to retain the quality of the existing form and character of the settlement, and to avoid the loss of important open areas. The Plan will restrict further development to exceptional proposals which would enhance the amenity of the area.
Employment - Redevelopment



(R)F.Drybrook/Harrow Hill 5

Proposals for the development or redevelopment of land for employment uses within the site identified as Nailbridge on the Inset Map will be supported where the proposals meet the requirements of Policy (R)FE.2.

16.19 The area of Nailbridge offers the greatest potential within Drybrook to increase the number of employment opportunities during the Plan period. The northern section of the site is well established with users which include a builders merchant, saw yard and bathroom showroom. The southern section of the site is currently used for the storage of materials. Potential exists in this area to increase the level of local employment through further development or redevelopment.
16.20 The employment site at Nailbridge is within close proximity to both Drybrook and Harrow Hill, providing the opportunity for local businesses to utilise a site which benefits from existing infrastructure and is capable of being accessed by walking and cycling. An intensification of uses on this site will create new job opportunities to meet local employment needs over the Plan period. Any proposals will have due regard to the highly visible nature of the site. Proposals should aim to produce a high quality development which provides an overall improvement to the environment and amenity of the Nailbridge area. Proposals for the further intensification of employment uses of the site will be supported where the foregoing environmental gains can be made.
16.21 A further source of local employment in Drybrook and Harrow Hill is derived from Drybrook Quarry. Following a Planning Appeal in 1992 Drybrook Quarry has undergone a major expansion to the west. This expansion included a degree of site re-organisation, including the relocation of some processing plant providing significant environmental improvement to the site entrance. The expansion of the Quarry has brought benefits in terms of continued employment, but also significant costs in terms of heavy traffic on local roads and loss of amenity to the village of Drybrook.
16.22 Gloucestershire Minerals Local Plan, Deposit Plan 2000, identifies the site to the west of the existing Drybrook Quarry as a Preferred Area for further mineral extraction. The Plan identifies that up to 4.5 million tonnes of limestone could be worked contributing towards aggregate requirements within the Minerals Local Plan period 1997 - 2006.The Forest of Dean District Council as a statutory consultee to the Minerals Planning Authority will consider future applications for further winning and working of minerals at Drybrook Quarry. Any application will require stringent controls in regard to noise, dust, transportation and general disturbance accompanied by a detailed landscaping, restoration and after care scheme.

FW v1

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

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