MEMBERS of the public are being asked to submit their thoughts on the development of Cinderford’s Northern Quarter with a view to finding a way forward for the project.

The district council (FODDC) is giving interested parties the opportunity to put forward their ideas on the development as part of an inquiry by its Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The council says the purpose of the inquiry is to gather evidence, formulate a report and make recommendations to the cabinet on "a way forward" for the development in conjunction with the council’s Local Plan.

The £100 million development scheme has been under consideration for more than a decade, with planning permission for phase one of the project having been granted in 2014.

A new campus for Gloucestershire College and a section of a spine road leading to it opened four years later, but progress has stalled since then due to legal challenges from environmentalists coupled with a lack of available funding.

The council submitted an application to change the planning permission for phase two of the scheme back in April this year, with a view to extending the spine road through the site ahead of other works so that the remaining development plots could be accessed.

But the council announced in July that it would be undertaking "a full and comprehensive review" into its policies surrounding the project, as years have now elapsed since they were first made.

All administrative activity associated with the scheme has been paused until the review has been completed.

Cllr Alan Preest, Chairman of the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said of the forthcoming review: "We welcome the views of everyone in the Forest of Dean, who can put forward their ideas by emailing the council’s democratic services team or by writing to the Democratic Services, Forest of Dean District Council, the full address for which can be reached from our website

"We will take all these views into account when making our final recommendations in a report to be presented to the Cabinet."

The Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee will hold evidence gathering days as part of its inquiry at the council chamber in Coleford on Tuesday November 2, Friday November 5 and Thursday November 11 from 10am until 4pm, and from 6pm until 9pm on Wednesday November 10.

During the evidence gathering, the committee will look at technical information as well as taking the views of interested parties into account.

The public, local groups and organisations will have twenty minutes to express their views, followed by questions from the committee. 

Anyone wishing to speak should contact the council’s democratic services team on 01594 812625 or email [email protected] as soon as possible, but at the latest by noon on Monday October 18.

Submissions can also be submitted in writing for those unable to attend, which should be emailed or sent by post to the democratic services team at the council offices, no later than 5pm on October 18.

The sessions can also be observed online via the meetings link on the council’s website, though numbers will be limited and access will be given on a first come first serve basis.

A final report with recommendations will be presented to the cabinet early in 2022.