Defend the Forest's Green Belt: Protect Our Future

What is our cause and how can you help?

Churcham, Huntley, Minsterworth, Westbury-on-Severn and Highnam Parishes in Gloucestershire are together working to challenge the Forest of Dean District Council’s Local Plan Preferred Strategy.

The recently approved Preferred Strategy, currently open under public consultation until the 29th January 2021, threatens damaging, irreversible changes to our District and local economies.

The most effective ways to question, and succeed in reconfiguring the Preferred Strategy, are two-fold:

1.       Engage a Planning Consultant whose expertise will help us develop an alternative, viable, development strategy

2.       Encourage each and every Forest of Dean inhabitant to not miss out on sharing their views with their District Councillors via the Local Plan Consultation page (Click HERE to view the Local Plan Preferred Option Consultation Page )

To achieve this, together we must raise funds.

Our Parish Councils are already helping to meet costs, but to successfully maintain this campaign we must all help where we can. 

A cross-Parish group is liaising with Planning Consultants ready to craft an improved, revised Local Plan Strategy in what will be a vital but likely expensive exercise.

As a result of the pandemic we cannot meet, gather and galvanise as normal.
We must act now, and use all available tools and resources in order to raise awareness about the Preferred Strategy among all Forest of Dean inhabitants, young and old, by investing in online and off-line communications.

Crucially, we have only a short window to inform our local communities, and make sure you and I, and all of our neighbours have the chance to have our say!

How will my donation help?

All funds raised will be spent exclusively on our campaign, including:

 - To engage a Planning Consultant to develop an alternative strategy for development
For representation by a Consultant throughout the process, the cost is likely to be around £15,000.
The better support we get the better chance we have of success.

-          To invest in signage and billboards to be erected across the District – to highlight the key issues within the District Council’s Preferred Strategy, and inform people how to have their say

-          To print leaflets – to engage people across the District who are not computer literate

-          To fund Facebook advertising  - to maximise our reach across ~31,000 social media users within the District to spread awareness and encourage people to have their say

Why engage a Planning Consultant?

To deliver a robust, successful challenge to the District Council’s Preferred Strategy we must create an alternative, a workable solution that reflects the interests of the Forest of Dean and guarantees our towns’ future economic, social and environmental prosperity.

A Planning Consultant will boost our chances of a successful challenge by:

-          Providing expertise to navigate a complex set of rules and regulations that govern planning policy
-          To represent us alongside Parish Councillors at planning meetings, to add weight and legitimacy to our challenge

Why do we need to develop an alternative Preferred Strategy?

If the District fails to submit a Preferred Strategy to the housing inspector in 2021, under new government guidelines, housing developers will be gifted free reign over all land, to pick and choose where to develop.

It is understood that a Preferred Strategy, should inhabitants have been given due opportunity to scrutinize it, would enable the District to at least identify the areas available to developers.

However, our District Council’s existing Preferred Strategy demonstrates little-to-no consideration to the future prosperity of the Forest of Dean. It promotes building a new town that will simply suck investment out of the Forest of Dean, and instead boost Gloucester’s economy.

District Councillors likewise seem content to allow construction across swathes of greenfield land, despite there being enough brownfield sites ripe for development and regeneration across the District.

A new, reconfigured, and evidence-based strategy for development would:

-          Represent the most effective way to force the District Council to re-assess their existing Preferred Strategy

-          Address and, crucially, provide a workable solution to the environmental, social and economic implications of the Council’s preferred option, promoting a sustainable, viable way forward

-          Ensure that the interests and future of Forest of Dean inhabitants are protected through development, regeneration and investment that will positively contribute to making our market towns attractive and profitable now and in the future

-          Save our green field land from the hands of developers

Why challenge the District Council’s existing Preferred Strategy for development?

Click HERE to find out more about the following issues 

- Lack of Democracy and consultation from the District Council
- Economic, social and environmental impacts 
- Impact on wildlife
- Pressure on infrastructure and transportation

Please donate whatever you can, and share our campaign widely!

Thank you!

For more ways to support our campaign:

Have your say: Click HERE to view and comment on the District Council Preferred Strategy 

Website: Click HERE to visit our campaign website 

Facebook: 'New Town in the Forest; Have Your Say”: Join us on Facebook 

Petition: 'Objections to the building of 5000 houses in Churcham Parish on green field land:  Sign the petition
Become the first supporter

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Fundraising team (3)

Forest of Dean Land Grab Action Group Fundraiser
Raised £1,035 from 17 donations
Jasmine Bailey
John Francis
Team member
Raised £1,830 from 13 donations

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