THE new leisure, enterprise and education facility at Five Acres in Berry Hill has received planning permission. 

Councillor Johnathan Lane, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “It’s fantastic to hear that planning permission has been granted to refurbish the Speedwell building and support the new designs at Five Acres. 

“This is a massive milestone in the progress of our project, as we’re now able to begin construction in the coming months. 

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the hard-working council staff ad partners, including demolition experts Armac, architects AHR, project and cost consultants Pick Everard and leading construction and property developer BAM, who have helped make Five Acres a reality. 

“I’d also like to thank all our residents for their comments and suggestions, which have allowed us to shape Five Acres into a project that the whole community can be proud of. 

“The regeneration of Five Acres is hugely important for the community of Berry Hill and the Forest of Dean as a whole. Once completed, it will provide leading sport and education facilities, and I can’t wait to see it take shape once construction begins.”

The council submitted its planning application in November of last year, which allowed residents and the wider Forest community to share their thoughts on the plans.

The approval of the planning application marks a significant development in the project five miles from Monmouth, which is part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund. 

Following planning permission, the project can proceed with it’s initial phase. This focuses on the re-purposing of the Speedwell building from the previous classrooms to create a new office and community spaces, a cafe and outreach space for Hartpury University’s Aspiration Centre.

The new build will connect Speedwell through a glazed atrium and include the construction of a new multi-purpose four-court sports hall, small performance space, party rooms/ dressing rooms and internal changing rooms. 

Outside there will be a separate external changing block, a secure cycle hub and a new car park layout which will introduce 12 electric vehicle charging spaces on the site for the first time.