The Voice Of The People Of The Forest of Dean

Objections to the proposals for the Cinderford Northern Quarter

I submit this objection to the proposals for the Northern Quarter of Cinderford, on behalf of Dean Forest Voice. (DFV)

1. Our objection is based on the intention to develop a significant parcel of Forest Waste Land.

2. Since the proposals to develop this particular area of land came to our attention in 2003 we have been critical of them - not for what they proposed for the area - but because it infringed on large areas of Forest Waste.

3. The term 'Forest Waste' is used to describe all land within the Statutory Forest of Dean (SFoD) that is not legally enclosed, (1908 Forestry Act) so that this open land (Waste of the Forest) is available to Commoners for pasture , and they hold this land in joint occupation with the Crown (invested in the Forestry Commission) (FC)

4. The Forestry Act, 1981 controls the disposal of any designated SFoD land and only permits the exchange of small areas of it where the FC deem it is not required, or unsuitable for forestry or related uses. This provision is exclusive to the SFoD. The same Act also imposes a general duty, which is translated into the FC's 'Mission Statements' as follows: 'Protect and expand Britain's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment' Taking these two requirements on their own it is difficult to see how any justification can be made for taking SFoD land on a scale suggested for the Cinderford Northern Quarter.

5. Under the terms of the Forestry Act 1967 only small areas of land can be exchanged for more suitable land where the Minister can demonstrate the land is not required for forestry use. The ability of the FC to dispose of Forest Land is laid down by the Forestry Act 1981 which by S1 does not apply to the Forest of Dean, so that if forestry land in the Forest of Dean can be disposed of at all; then it can only be disposed of under the terms of the aforementioned 1967 Act.

6 Discussions between DFV and FC have revealed FC's doubt as to there being a parcel of land large enough, and available to exchange, for the area to be taken up by the Northern Quarter proposals. It would however, they say, be a condition of them conceding the land.

7. These points were argued by DFV and others at the Public Inquiry into the District Local Plan 2003 . At the Inquiry the Inspector recommended the inclusion of Policy RFBE.9 and in so doing accepted that the facts as presented were right.

8. Policy RFBE.9 of the 2005 District Local Plan (still in force) seeks to identify and protect Forest Waste from development and for that purpose the boundary of the SFoD is now shown on all relevant Planning Maps.

9 DFV do not wish to get into arguments about housing or educational establishments etc, our policy is to protect the SFoD which includes Forest Waste. This argument represents the basis of our objection to development in the Cinderford Northern Quarter.

Keith Morgan

4 Wilkes Meadow, Broadwell, Coleford Glos GL16 7DT

01594 833552