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Five Acres redevelopment site

On 17 December 2021, the Council completed the purchase of the Five Acres site from Homes England for £1 in line with Full Council approval in July 2021.

The ambition is to redevelop the site to create a new Council owned destination leisure facility to add to existing facilities, improve the health and wellbeing of Forest residents and to increase the numbers of visitors coming to the area. The Council will partner with adjacent land owner West Dean Parish Council to explore a comprehensive redevelopment of the site and adjacent playing fields to improve both indoor and outdoor provision. The Council will also partner with Hartpury University and College to create a new outreach facility or Aspiration Centre.

The redevelopment of the Five Acres site is being funded by the Council’s successful Levelling Up Fund bid to Government. Levelling Up capital funding will support three projects in total: the Five Acres site redevelopment; a flagship University, Careers & Enterprise Learning Centre and electric vehicle car park at Hartpury’s main campus to support 3,000 students and the wider Forest community; and transforming three prominent buildings in Cinderford town centre into accessible spaces that will support business start-ups and social enterprise formation, training/mentoring, arts and creative networks.

The Five Acres Project Board has been monitoring progress of the demolition and clearance programme of work that is coming to an end on site.

An information sharing event was held at Five Acres High School in November 2021 and a summary of the feedback received is available below.

Following more recent consultation events with residents held at Berry Hill Primary School and the subsequent report that has been issued by Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, Forest of Dean District Council has amended initial designs for the Five Acres site to reserve space for additional facilities in future redevelopment phases. You can view the report via the link below.

Additionally, members of the public were invited to meet the project architects on 21 November 2022, we have shared the Q&A below, titled Five Acres Community Forum Q&A - Nov 2022.

Further community engagement events will be arranged to seek views as the design work takes shape.

It is envisaged that the site will come forward in phases with the first build phase involving the refurbishment of the retained Speedwell building and the development of a new 4-court sports hall, cycle hub and ancillary car parking. The second phase will include the development of a new 3G artificial pitch, sports pavilion and tennis courts.

The project links into the Allocations Plan and the Berry Hill, Christchurch and Edge End neighbourhood Plan.

Planning application submitted for Five Acres

Construction of the new leisure, enterprise and education facility at Five Acres in Berry Hill has taken a significant step forward, with planning now submitted (2 November 2023).

We’re inviting residents and members of the wider Forest community to view and comment on the plans on the council’s planning portal, by searching reference P1435_23_FUL at the following link: https://publicaccess.fdean.gov.uk/online-applications/

Indicative design plans for Five Acres

Following consultation events with residents, businesses and local sports clubs, initial plans for the new Leisure Centre and Community Hub at Five Acres have been amended to include future phases and space for a pool. Indicative design images and site plans can be found below.

Project documents

Five Acres letting opportunities

Forest of Dean District Council is looking for interested parties to occupy part of the new Community Sports Hub on the Five Acres site at Berry Hill.

The Community Sports Hub refurbishment will be in phase I of the redevelopment and Hartpury University and College are due to have an outreach facility within the building.

As part of the acquisition of this site from Homes England the Council is required to use the site for cultural, community, education, recreational and sporting uses and therefore we are looking for expressions of interest from these sectors, as well as a café operator for the ground floor.

To express interest, or to find out more go to: https://www.fdean.gov.uk/business-and-licensing/commercial-property-and-assets/

Local supply chain benefits

The Council is working to maximise opportunities for Forest based suppliers to access contracts of works and services related to Levelling Up funded activity at the Five Acres site. These efforts comply with the Council’s current contract procedure rules. The Council uses the In-tend e-portal to alert suppliers to all new contracts of work above £10,000. To register your business or social enterprise as a potential new supplier please review the e-tendering guide and submit your details.

Site security

Forest of Dean District Council have purchased the Five Acres site from Homes England. Five Acres High School has access rights over the one-way access loop road on the south-west boundary of the site. The access road and bus parking bay are still excluded from the secure site boundary fencing to allow access to the school to operate normally.

Report any concerns about site security or access issues to Forest of Dean District Council by calling 01594 810000 or by email to [email protected]