THE building of the new £9 million community and leisure centre at Five Acres is set to progress with the council having selected a firm to develop the site.

Leading construction and property developer BAM has been chosen to build the new facility, which is being paid for by funds secured from the Government’s Leveling Up fund in 2021.

Construction will be completed in phases, and will begin once design consultants Pick Everard and BAM finalise designs for the initial phase and a planning application is submitted and approved.

The first phase will focus delivering on dryside sport and leisure facilities through the repurposing of the Speedwell building, building a new multi-purpose four court sports hall/performance space, party rooms/dressing rooms and separate changing rooms - all with car parking, including electric vehicle charging points.

Public consultation on the plans was carried out in 2021 and 2022.

Dates for future engagement events with residents will be announced on the Forest of Dean District Council website and social media channels.

Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Cllr Johnathan Lane said: “Since taking control of the site in early 2022, the Council has been hard at work ensuring that the initial demolition of buildings on the site, as well as the design and planning of the new facility, were completed on time and with the engagement of the local community, organisations and sports clubs.

“We’re now really excited to move on to the next stage of the project, appointing BAM to bring the design and build to fruition and to deliver the quality facilities needed by people in the local community.

“I’d like to thank those who have been involved with the Five Acres and Levelling Up project so far and look forward to the next stage of this journey, working collaboratively with partners to deliver the best possible facilities for the Forest of Dean.”

BAM, which has been building in the UK since 1874, designing, says it will work with local suppliers wherever possible and will bring “a range of benefits” to the Forest of Dean - “local knowledge, local people, support for the local economy and a smaller carbon footprint”.

Justin Price, Construction Director at BAM, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be chosen as the contractor for the design and build of the new facilities at Five Acres.

“We are aware of how much Five Acres means to the residents of the Forest of Dean and we’ll be holding several engagement events in the coming months so that we can discuss the plans for the build in detail with people from across the district.

“At BAM we are committed to working with local businesses wherever possible and we can’t wait to work with partners and the community to develop these incredible facilities for the residents of the Forest of Dean.”

Alex Dovey, Director at Pick Everard, commented: “The work set to be undertaken at Five Acres is indicative of our commitment to transforming people’s wellbeing through access to high quality leisure and educational environments.

“It will be a modern facility, delivering significant social value to the local community through accessible, multi-use spaces for all the family, that will have a lasting impact for generations to come.

“We’re pleased to be collaboratively working on this venture and look forward to delivering a range of management and consultative services.”

Full details of the project can be found here.