THE Forest Council hopes to open up new opportunities for retailers in Coleford after completing the purchase of Pyart Court.

The council announced on Monday (December 19) that it was “delighted” to have purchased the shopping centre, which it described as both a “prominent and important commercial centre” for established retailers in the town and a “seedbed” for new businesses.

The shopping centre, which was purchased from a private client of Alder King Property Consultants, was built in 1987 following the closure of the old railway yard.

Its design was described as “revoluntionary” for the time as it allowed shoppers to browse under cover.

The on-site car park, which was added some years later, is also included in the purchase.

And the council says as the site adjoins the main car park in the town centre, which it also owns, the purchase of the site offers “potential improvement of the public realm” in Coleford in the longer term.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Tim Gwilliam, said: “Pyart Court is an exciting purchase for the Forest of Dean District Council and for the businesses and residents who currently use the site.

“We want this site to continue to be successful, not only for the businesses currently there, but also as a place for new businesses to grow in the Forest of Dean.

“In completing the purchase of Pyart Court we can ensure its long term security and improvements can be made so that business can continue to thrive in Coleford.”

It is anticpated the council will make improvements at the site over time to help reduce energy usage and costs for businesses.

Discussions with the range of businesses currently occupying the site, some of which have been there for many years including Day Lewis Pharmacy, Thurabread Bakery and Forget Me Not Florists, have already begun, with all tenants having been made aware of the purchase.

The council says it will continue to work with those tenants “to sustain and promote this successful retail scheme”.

Cabinet member for finance Cllr Richard Leppington says the purchase is “great news” for the local community.

He commented: “Pyart Court is a well-loved area of Coleford that has been used for many years by local residents and we look forward to making improvements to the site so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.

“As the district council, we want to help local people and support businesses across the Forest of Dean and this purchase gives us an opportunity to work with the occupiers at Pyart Court to ensure that the high street in Coleford continues to grow.”