The Voice Of The People Of The Forest of Dean

Letter to the Editor of The Forester

To the Editor, The Forester.

Dear Editor,

Dean Forest Voice notes with interest the article in last weeks edition of The Forester entitled 'Silent majority' urged to back £100m project.

Where has this silent majority been for; at least; the last five or ten years?

Scrutiny of the correspondence and objections to the Cinderford Northern Quarter development on the Forest of Dean District Council's Planning website will show hundreds of letters opposing this development, many of them from Cinderford residents. The bulk of them are from people and organisations from ouside of the Cinderford area but who have a big interest in; and love of the Forest. People who are constantly being told that this project is for all of the Forest of Dean and not just Cinderford.

There are very few letters in support.

Maybe the people of Cinderford are aware that this open cast site has been regenerated at considerable cost and turned into a leisure and recreation area and one of the finest wildlife sites in Gloucestershire.

In 1991 a Derelict Land Reclamation Grant was applied for and granted to the sum of £286,000.

The terms of the grant were as follows:-

a) The reclamation works should commence as soon as possible.

b) Expenditure on the scheme, including expenditure already approved for grant, should be phased as follows:-

1991/92                1992/93

 £200,000                 £86,024

c) On completion of the reclamation works the land will be used for public open space.

d) The Council will lease the land from the Forestry Commission for 9 years and there is to be unrestricted public access to the land for at least 30 years after the lease expires.

Dean Forest Voice estimates that this agreement still has at least fifteen years to run. The Northern Quarter has been regenerated and at considerable expense.

An interesting publication in 2008 entitled 'Cinderford Walks' which includes a Foreword by the Mayor of Cinderford, describes the Steam Mills Lake area as "Hidden away in a quiet area of woodlands that forms part of the Gloucestershire Way, this former site of an open cast mine is now a tranquil hideaway where many choose to go walking and fishing."

These words are as true today as they were in 2008 and maybe the people of Cinderford should petition the authorities to keep what they have got and what they appreciate and love.

Once destroyed it will never return.

Dean Forest Voice.