Chapter 38

Ruardean Hill

Introduction
38.1 Ruardean Hill is situated on a prominent and visible hillside within the Statutory boundary of the Forest. It is part of the Forest Ring of settlements on the coal outcrop and shows evidence of past industrial activity, including mining, quarrying and timber processing. The village is less than 4 kilometres north of Cinderford and is closely associated with the neighbouring villages of Drybrook, Ruardean Woodside and Ruardean which are all located within a 3 kilometre radius.
38.2 The village is characteristic of a Forest Ring settlement. Both within the village and around its periphery are very substantial areas of forest waste which provide important open spaces of amenity value and form part of the Special Landscape Area of the Plan. An extensive network of tracks and paths are a feature of the village, and these give access to the surrounding open areas for informal recreation. Vehicular access is poor in many parts of the village, and is a constraint upon development. The built environment displays a mixture of traditional building styles using local materials. These traditional buildings are interweaved with more recent infilling and groups of dwellings. Not all of the more modern buildings are built in materials and styles which are in keeping with earlier buildings.
38.3 Ruardean Hill has a limited range of local services which comprise a Chapel, social club and recreation ground, and a nearby public house. The nearest schools are located within the villages of Ruardean Woodside and Drybrook. The village provides only limited local employment, however further employment opportunities are available within the neighbouring settlements.
38.4 The present population of Ruardean Hill is approximately 350 with a housing stock of 142 in January 2000. During the 1980's the village experienced a considerable amount of building activity, with approximately 44 dwelling completions since 1981. All outstanding planning consents have been implemented.
Development Strategy
38.5 Ruardean Hill displays many of the attractive features of the Forest Ring of settlements. Its form and character are derived from the haphazard and dispersed way in which it has developed. The strategy will enable proposals for residential infilling of one or two dwellings where development respects the strong underlying form and character of the village, and have regard to the prominent hilltop position and extensive views into and out of the settlement from the surrounding villages and open countryside. In the eastern part of Ruardean Hill a more restrictive policy will be implemented reflecting the area=s special qualities, prominence and its poor access. New development in this area will be limited to that which would lead to a positive improvement to the built environment.
38.6 Within the village are a large number of open areas the majority of which comprise forest waste. These spaces are visually important features within the village and are well used for informal recreation. A significant contribution is also made by small enclosed fields and by the many smaller verges, tracks and paths. The Plan will protect these important open spaces which provide areas for both formal and informal recreation and add to the amenity of the built environment.
Built Environment
Restriction on Development

 

 

(R)F.Ruardean Hill 1

Residential development including infilling will not be permitted within the eastern part of Ruardean Hill as shown on the Inset Map. 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.

38.7 Policy (R)F.Ruardean Hill 1 identifies land in the eastern part Ruardean Hill as an area which retains most clearly many of the features of the original settlement form and character. This area is particularly open and dispersed in character resulting in its vulnerability to the cumulative process of infilling which could detract from its special qualities. The area is positioned on an exposed hillside, where new development would be very prominent and where vehicular access is restricted. For these reasons new development will be resisted. Exceptions will be made where proposals for development would add to the quality and amenity of the area.

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


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