There are secret plans to “merge Cheltenham and Gloucester” while creating new garden towns across the county to build 142,400 new homes by 2051.

A leaked Gloucestershire County Council document suggests the creation of new garden towns in locations  including Aylburton near Lydney.

The upper forecast housing for the whole county by 2051 is 142,380 new homes.

The Forest of Dean is expected to provide 18,240 new houses by 2051 and the strategy suggests modest renewal growth in established urban areas and new garden towns to provide the bulk of the new housing.

For the Forest of Dean, the long term growth strategy suggests the creation of a new garden town at Northwood Green which would have 10,400 by 2051 and an urban extension in Aylburton with 2,800 houses.

The idea for Northwood Green, which is located on the A48 west of Gloucester, would be built around a new railway station within the vicinity of Westbury-on-Severn.

The paper says flood mitigation measures are likely to be extensive to maintain full eyar resilience when accessing the city via the A40.

The confidential report suggests a new air line cable car/gondola be built linking the site with Gloucester to alleviate the pinch point at Over before a new station can be built.

This site would be accessed with enhanced bus and cycle routes improving links with Cinderford and Gloucester. A new park and ride facility would also be provided to alleviate congestion on the A40 at Over.

The Forest of Dean District Council leaders had decided to shelve plans for a new settlement in this area for their new development blueprint which would run until 2041. And district leaders had ruled out having any secret plans to develop this area.

However, this confidential paper was authored by Gloucestershire County Council and not by the District Council at Coleford.

The Aylburton proposal would be an urban extension to Lydney which would benefit from existing rail facilities at the Severnside town.

This long-term growth strategy paper is understood to have been shared with the leadership of each of Gloucestershire’s six district councils.