Northern Quarter regeneration underway in Cinderford
Work is underway to prepare for a new road in Cinderford in the Forest of Dean, with archaeological pits recently completed and tunnels dug to lay power cables.
The work taking place is part of a much bigger vision for Cinderford and the Forest of Dean area as a whole which aims to open up more than £100m in future investment. The road will allow access to the Gloucestershire College site.
The road will be built in phases with the first phase involving construction of a new road starting at the junction of Newtown Road and Broadmoor Road.
Additional work will take place in other phases with the work eventually reaching the A4136.
Currently, work is taking place to move two high voltage cables from above the site of the new road to underneath the ground as the road will be higher than the current ground level.
Investigation work on sewerage systems in the area have taken place and site offices and accommodation have been erected.
The archaeological dig, which happened in June, took place on the site of the new road. Nothing of significance was found along the route.
Gloucestershire County Council appointed Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd to build phase one of the spine road for the Cinderford Northern Quarter scheme earlier this year.
GFirst LEP is funding the construction of the road following a successful grant application by a partnership bid from the district and county council.
Extensive work has been undertaken to make sure animals have been rehomed along the route of the road to keep them safe. Great Crested Newts and other common species have been successfully relocated and several new ponds created in the surrounding area.
Cllr Graham Morgan, district councillor for Cinderford West, labour county councillor for Cinderford and chairman of the Cinderford Regeneration Board, said: "It is great to see work is beginning here. This is a fantastic investment for Cinderford, and I know everyone is committed to making sure the new spine road is built in a sensitive and sustainable manner."
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: "This may be just the beginning of the work, but it is a truly exciting time for Cinderford and the wider area of the forest. Gloucestershire County Council is committed to supporting jobs and investment across Forest of Dean district."
Cllr Patrick Molyneux, leader of the Forest of Dean District Council, said: "The start of the works on the access road is a significant leap forward for our regeneration plans in Cinderford. The project will see £100m investment for the benefit of local residents and the district's economy."
Ian McSeveney, Managing Director, Civil Engineering at Buckingham Group Contracting, said: "We are delighted to be involved in this exciting project that will bring such significant future benefits to the local area. Our team is focussed on implementing the highest standards of sustainable construction and delivering a project aligned to the Northern Quarter's published vision. To ensure that we maximise the socio-economic benefits of the project we are already in discussion with a number of local companies."
Matthew Burgess, principal at Gloucestershire College, said: "The work underway brings us one step closer to starting the build of our new purpose-built post-16 college in the Forest, which will offer a wealth of educational opportunities for young people locally, including a new Sixth Form with Dene Magna and a technical curriculum offer. Our focus now is to ensure the new campus build starts as soon as possible so we are ready to welcome students in September 2018."
David Owen, chief executive of GFirst LEP, added: "The preparatory work beginning on the Cinderford Northern Quarter development is great news for the Forest of Dean economy. Improving the transport infrastructure throughout the county is a number one growth priority for GFirst LEP, as outlined in our Strategic Economic Plan. As a result of the Gloucestershire Growth Deal, funding allocated to this development will sustain the Forest of Dean's economy whilst boosting job creation locally."
David Warburton, Head of Area for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), said: "It's great to see further progress in delivering the regeneration of Cinderford's Northern Quarter. Breaking ground on the new spine road represents a huge leap forward in realising the vision for the area, which sees a new education campus at its heart together with new homes and jobs. The HCA has invested in strategic land acquisition and extensive preparation works in the Northern Quarter over a number of years so I am really pleased to see local partners are now moving ahead with this major scheme for the benefit of local communities."
The overall project to regenerate the northern quarter of Cinderford secures a once in a generation level and mix of investment to create more than 1,000 jobs, up to 195 new homes and a state of the art education facility for up to 1,500 young people.