Legal challenge to Forest of Dean regeneration plans

Cinderford, Forest of Dean
Image caption The plans include new business units and a new college campus.

A legal challenge over plans to regenerate an area in the Forest of Dean, described as an important habitat for bats, has been launched.

In January, a planning inspector approved the district council's Core Strategy and the Cinderford Northern Quarter Area Action Plan.

But Forest of Dean Friends of the Earth has lodged papers with the High Court applying for a judicial review.

The district council said it was "surprised and disappointed".

Forest of Dean Friends of the Earth said the strategy and the plan together gave the go-ahead for the regeneration of the Cinderford Northern Quarter.

They said the area was statutory forest and also part of Linear Park, a recognised wildlife conservation site and bat conservation area.

The plan includes new business units and a new college campus.

The core strategy, which details district-wide growth plans until 2026, involves building a total of 5,000 new homes as well as a biomass plant.

Councillor Brian Robinson, cabinet member for planning policy, said they had been notified about the judicial review application.

"The application is being looked at and we will be responding to this within the necessary time scales," he said.

"We are surprised and disappointed at this application given the greater protection and certainty that the Core Strategy and Cinderford Area Action Plan offer about the scale and type of development that may take place compared to that under the old Local Plan and the new National Planning Policy Framework that the Government introduced in March."

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