OLYMPIC Gold Medalist and three-time Tour de France Yellow Jersey wearer Chris Boardman commented that the plans for the new Five Acres leisure centre “look incredible” on a recent visit to the site. 

The cycling veteran was given a tour of Five Acres by district and West Dean Parish Council members, Five Acres High School staff and representatives of local sports clubs, in his role as Chair of Sport England. 

He was presented with the plans and saw the progress made so far on the new Levelling Up-funded leisure and community facility.

Mr Boardman, MBE and also National Active Travel Commissioner, commented: “The plans for the new facility at Five Acres look incredible and will be a real asset to people in both the local community and further afield. 

“Sport has a way of bringing people together like nothing else and the regeneration of this site will be such an important part for people of the Forest of Dean.

"I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the Council, School and local clubs who took time to show me around the site and I look forward to learning more about the development and working together in future.”

The £9 million facility is being completed in phases, with the initial phase focusing on dry-side sport and leisure facilities through the re-purposing of the Speedwell building, which will connect through to a new multi-purpose four court sports hall/performance space, party rooms/dressing rooms and separate changing rooms - all with car and cycle parking including electric vehicle charging points.

Regeneration Manager at Forest of Dean District Council, Wendy Jackson, said of Mr Boardman's visit: “It’s been fantastic to present our ambitious plans for Five Acres to Sport England and to be able to show Chris Boardman around the wider site to gain a better understanding of Five Acres and the surrounding area and how this new facility will benefit the people of the Forest of Dean.

“As a council, we’re working hard with residents, businesses, sports and social organisations to ensure that the facility built at Five Acres will be accessible for all and cater for a wide range of sports and community activities.

"We have established the Five Acres Community Forum so that local clubs and residents can learn more about the redevelopment and assist with our plans and we’ll have further community events in the coming months to discuss the next stage for Five Acres.

“I’d like to thank West Dean Parish Council, Five Acres High School and the Forest of Dean Gymnastics Club for their assistance on the day and look forward to continuing our work together to inform the design process.” 

Chair of West Dean Parish Council, Councillor Alison Bruce, added: “The Five Acres site in Berry Hill is important for people across the Forest of Dean and we are delighted to be involved with Forest of Dean District Council in redeveloping and regenerating the area.

“The Council has ambitious plans to return Five Acres to a leading leisure facility for residents and we look forward to working in partnership with them and others to deliver this.”

The council is currently working with sporting organisations to help with funding for facilities like the 3G pitch and are inviting football and rugby clubs from across the district to get in touch to join a 3G pitch group, helping to establish the number of potential users and highlight the benefits of the pitch to clubs from across the Forest.

If any football or rugby clubs would like to get involved in the 3G pitch group, contact [email protected] for more information.