Chapter 49

Whitecroft and Pillowell

49.1 Whitecroft is part of the Forest Ring of settlements which follow the coal outcrop around the edge of the Statutory Forest. It lies on the southern perimeter of this ring about 6 Kilometres north of Lydney, and astride the B.4234. The village is set within the Special Landscape Area of the Plan, and is bounded by forest to the north.

To the east lies Pillowell, an attractive relatively open settlement on a hillside. It is joined to Whitecroft and to Yorkley but has a distinct much more open character than either. This is largely due to the generally low levels of development that have been permitted in the past in Pillowell where relief and access together with planning policy have led to a situation where there has been very little change over the last 25 years. Pillowell consequently exemplifies many of the settlement characteristics that typify the Forest Ring and for this reason much of the settlement is designated as a Conservation Area.


The villages owe their origins to the history of mineral extraction and metal based industries in the area. The older housing is typical of this early industrial period and can be readily identified in Pillowell and in parts of Whitecroft. However, the original settlement of Whitecroft with the exception of the eastern part of the village has been developed in such a way as to mask this original settlement pattern. The eastern part of Whitecroft is included within the Conservation Area. Areas of more recent (mainly post war) housing estate development now comprise by far the largest part of Whitecroft. This development has continued into recent years. Whitecroft is an important source of employment for a more than local area, with several substantial employers located within the village.

49.4 Whitecroft has a relatively limited range of services even though it is a village with a large population. These include a Post Office, a fish and chip shop, three public houses and two recreation grounds. As indicated above, there are significant manufacturing businesses in the village, producing metal fasteners, insulation materials, a tyre sales depot and a vehicle repairer. Pillowell by contrast has a school and no other services though there is some local employment in the form of a coach depot. It does however take advantage of its close proximity to Yorkley where there are a good range of services and some additional employment.
49.5 The present population of Whitecroft is approximately 650, with a housing stock of 267, having increased quite significantly in recent years as a result of 82 dwelling completions since 1981. On 1st January, 2000, there were outstanding planning consents for 5 additional dwellings in Whitecroft.
49.6 No new dwellings have been completed over the past 14 years, though several building conversions have taken place. The present population of the village is about 250 with a housing stock of 101. There were no outstanding consents within Pillowell on 1st January, 2000.
Development Strategy
49.7 Much of Whitecroft has been intensively developed by a process of housing estate construction which has left very few remaining opportunities for development. The original distinctive pattern of dispersed Forest style cottages now is only evident in the extreme east of the settlement. The strategy of the Plan is to restrict new residential development to infilling, small groups and single dwellings within a relatively tightly drawn settlement boundary. Development outside the defined settlement boundary will be resisted, and the open countryside which forms part of the Special landscape Area of the Plan will be protected from inappropriate development. Plan policies will permit the further development of the important employment sites within Whitecroft.
49.8 The entire settlement of Pillowell is one where the effects of past infilling and changes have not obscured the overall open and spacious character that was once commonplace in both the larger and the smaller settlements in the Forest Ring. This spacious and open character is now most obvious in smaller settlements that have not in the past been regarded as suitable locations for further development. The strategy for Pillowell is therefore dominated by the need to protect the form and character of the settlement. This will leave only very limited development opportunities.
49.9 The majority of Pillowell is located within a designated Conservation Area and in addition much of the village is covered by policy (R)F.Pillowell/Whitecroft.1, an area within which new dwellings will only be permitted where the development results in a significant improvement to the built environment or to the amenity of the area. The Plan therefore provides a clear context within which applications for development will be evaluated and will enable appropriate enhancements to the fabric of the village.


Pillowell - Residential Development




(R)F.Whitecroft/Pillowell 1

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

49.10 The area defined on the Inset Map principally comprises the built up area of Pillowell, which exemplifies the original character of the Forest Ring of settlements. It is a designated Conservation Area. The associated Character Appraisal identifies the principal characteristics of the setlement. Within the area identified by the above policy residential infilling will not be permitted except where it would lead to an improvement in the local environment.
Employment Areas - Safeguarding
(R)F.Whitecroft/Pillowell 2

Proposals for the development or redevelopment of land identified on the Inset Map for employment purposes will be permitted where the proposals meet the requirements of policy (R)FE.2. Development for other purposes will not be permitted.

49.11 Large sites occupied by local employers comprise substantial areas on the outskirts of Whitecroft. One of the two large employers in the village has recently undergone a major expansion, but there may be further scope for additional development on the site. The other has a substantial undeveloped area of land. The intention of Policy (R)F.Pillowell/Whitecroft 2 is to recognise the potential which exists to increase the level of employment within the village through business development or redevelopment. However, it will be expected that any further development will have regard to the prominent nature of the sites and be fully compatible with the nearby residential areas especially with regard to potential noise and disturbance. Proposals should aim to produce a high quality of development and an overall improvement to the environment and amenity of the sites allocated by policy (R)F.Pillowell/Whitecroft 2. Proposals for the intensification of the business use of the sites will be supported where the foregoing environmental gains can be made. The sites will be safeguarded for employment use as important contributors to employment for an area wider than the settlement.


Built Environment
49.12 Considerable improvements have already been made in the central part of Whitecroft by the occupiers of some of the premises and by the Council itself. For example tree planting on the land west of the Lydney Road and landscaping (in connection with a major expansion scheme) to the east. However there is still potential to further improve the appearance of this area. There may be opportunities for improvements arising from the redevelopment or intensification of existing sites. Where these occur the Plan strategy will seek to ensure that appropriate environmental enhancements will be sought as part of any new development proposal.
49.13 The former Severn and Wye railway line runs through Whitecroft and down to Lydney. The Dean Forest Railway Company have reopened the lower part of this route, around Lydney, and propose to open the line up to Whitecroft and on to Parkend as a tourist attraction in summer 2000. The further improvement and development of the Dean Forest Railway up to and within Whitecroft will be supported in principle because of its contribution to the development of tourism in the District.
Natural Environment
49.14 Whitecroft has very little of the characteristic open spaces of the Forest Ring of settlements, with only minor areas of forest waste, verges and tracks remaining. Where these do remain it will be important to protect them. There are no formal recreational spaces within Whitecroft though there is a playing field immediately to the north and another to the south. The forest edge surrounding the northern part of Whitecroft provides an attractive landscape setting which should be protected.
49.15 The former coal mine and spoil heap, which is located to the east of Whitecroft and identified on the Inset Map lies within the Pillowell Conservation Area. It contains substantial areas of levelled coal tip, some areas of dereliction, and important remnants of the former mineral railway. The area is designated as an important open area and has potential for restoration for informal recreation. Recently minor works have been carried out to enhance the area, and further relatively minor works may be carried out to assist with the interpretation and informal enjoyment of the site. Any scheme must have regard to safeguarding valuable elements of the industrial history of the site.
49.16 Pillowell in sharp contrast with Whitecroft has several large open areas. In addition the relatively large gardens, paddocks and other incidental spaces add greatly to the overall character of the settlement. The forest edge adjoining the village also adds to local amenity, as do the views out from the hillside location of Pillowell into adjoining forest. The Plan will safeguard this intrinsic character of Pillowell. The Conservation Area Character Assessment for Pillowell provides further detail of local character.

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

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