Chapter 28

Lydbrook and Joys Green

Introduction
Lydbrook
28.1 Lydbrook is a large village set within a valley which is a tributary of the River Wye. The valley is narrow and steep-sided with the result that the village has a strong linear form, and is tightly constrained with poor access to many parts of the village located on the valley sides. The village is set partly within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with the majority of the settlement contained within the statutory boundary of the Forest.
28.2 Lydbrook is divided into three parts, known as upper, central and lower Lydbrook. The form and character of the village reflects the industrial history of the District. Coal, timber, and metal ores were all important elements in the early development of the settlement, followed later by metal industries, and the construction of railways, including the Severn and Wye line. The buildings on the valley floor still reflect this later period of industrial development. More recent development has occurred in the form of infilling and groups of dwellings. Lower Lydbrook was designated a Conservation Area in 1995. This designation reflects the historic importance of this part of the village and the quality of the associated buildings. The area includes some of the substantial remains of the railway and its viaduct.
28.3 Lydbrook has a range of local services which are dispersed along the main road through the village. Community facilities are provided by the school, Parish Church, Memorial Hall, health centre and recreation ground. The services and facilities located within the village centre provide some local employment. Service employment is complemented by traditional industrial employment which is available both inside the settlement boundary and nearby. Major employers directly accessible to the village include S.C.A. Packaging.
28.4 House building in Lydbrook has taken place at a slower rate than in other large villages in the District. The present population of Lydbrook is approximately 800, with a village housing stock of approximately 324 in January 2000. There have been 8 dwelling completions since 1981. In January 2000 there was 76 outstanding consents. This includes one large site with consent for approximately 63 dwellings, currently occupied largely by lorry trailers. The site is located alongside the road running through the village.
Joys Green
28.5 Joys Green is located to the north-east of Lydbrook, situated on high ground above the Wye Valley. Joys Green differs from Lydbrook in its form and character and principally comprises a large Local Authority housing estate together with a smaller area of other modern housing. Around the periphery of Joys Green are a number of traditional forest dwellings. Since 1981 there have been 23 dwelling completions in Joys Green on land formerly used as a coach depot. In January 2000 Joys Green had a housing stock of approximately 230.
28.6 Joys Green has a limited number of local services, including a school, general store and post office.
Development Strategy
28.7 Lydbrook is a large and important settlement with a wide range of local services and employment. It is a suitable location for further development. However, development opportunities are severely constrained by topography, the compact form of the settlement, poor access and the presence of large and important areas of open space which will be protected from development.
28.8 The Plan strategy provides for residential development in the form of infilling and small groups of dwellings if suitable locations with satisfactory access can be identified. The same development strategy applies to Joys Green, which is closely linked to Lydbrook, and where limited site opportunities may arise. There may be opportunities for development arising from the redevelopment or intensification of existing sites. Where these occur the Plan strategy will seek to ensure that appropriate environmental improvements are incorporated, particularly in areas alongside the main valley floor access road. The District Council will give consideration to opportunities for localised environmental improvements, particularly in Central Lydbrook, including traffic management.
28.9 The theme of environmental improvements will be maintained also in relation to development proposals arising within existing land uses, particularly with respect to industrial sites within Lydbrook.
28.10 There are several prominent sites adjoining the principal road through Lydbrook, all of which make a significant environmental impact. Environmental enhancements will be sought as part of any new development proposals. One large site, the majority of which is currently occupied by Rothdean Ltd and which is principally used for the storage of lorry trailers, has planning consent for redevelopment for housing. The site is particularly prominent and substantial attention to design, layout and landscaping will be sought should development proceed.
28.11 The open spaces identified on the Inset Map will be protected from development to ensure they continue to provide for local amenity, and to contribute to the setting of the settlement. The Plan strategy will protect the former railway line from development to enable its continued use for informal recreation. Consideration will be given to further promotion of its quiet enjoyment.
Environment
28.12 Topography forms a major physical constraint to development in Lydbrook because of the steep valley sides and constricted valley floor. This does however have the beneficial effect of providing an attractive landscape setting to the village, with woodland and open spaces rising steeply above the village, interspersed with development. Lower Lydbrook also falls within the Wye Valley AONB, and is a designated Conservation Area. Areas of Lower Lydbrook are susceptible to flooding and there are important groundwater resources in the area which form an aquifer protection zone.
28.13 The industrial legacy of Lydbrook has produced a particular form and character of settlement, strongly influenced by topography. This development has formed attractive elements within the village. However there are also areas where the above influences have produced areas of poor local environmental quality, including poorly maintained buildings and some employment sites which are environmentally intrusive. These elements lie alongside the main valley floor access road which runs throughout the length of the village. There is a clear need to provide environmental improvements in such areas, particularly in conjunction with proposals for development.
28.14 There are many important large areas of open space in Lydbrook, which are shown on the Inset Map. They include forest waste on the fringes of Upper Lydbrook for example, and private enclosed land in Lower Lydbrook. The Former Severn and Wye Railway track bed forms a particularly notable and almost continuous feature in an elevated position along the valley side. Lower Lydbrook leads out onto the river bank of the Wye and is a well used recreational area incorporating an important area of public open space.
Former Severn and Wye Railway Line

 

 

(R)F.Lydbrook 1

Land forming the trackbed of the former Severn and Wye railway will be safeguarded from development. Proposals to develop the land for informal recreation will be developed during the Plan period.

28.15 Policy (R)F.Lydbrook 1 identifies parts of the former Severn and Wye railway track. This area is currently used for informal recreation, but does not necessarily enjoy public rights of access. The Policy will safeguard the trackbed from development and investigate ways in which greater public access can be obtained.
Built Environment
Restriction on Development

 

 

(R)F.Lydbrook 2

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

28.16 Camomile Green and adjacent housing is located on higher ground in a small valley overlooking the main Lydbrook valley. It is made up of a mix of Forest cottages and houses built for the Local Authority set in large gardens, all of which gives it a distinctive and very settled character. Vehicular access to parts of this area is poor. The general character and appearance of this area could be adversely affected by unsympathetic new development. Policy (R)F.Lydbrook 2 sets out to resist intrusive new development, while making exceptions where proposals would enhance and complement the area.

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


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