??£100m Forest of Dean regeneration plans approved
?Construction work valued at £100 million is set to begin on a former mining area in the Forest of Dean. This comes after plans for the project were approved by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) on November 14th. A new access road is among the features of the planning application, in addition to business space and a new college facility. Supporters of the project welcomed the idea as being a massive boost for the local economy. An estimated 1,000 additional jobs will be brought to the district as a result of the move, which is also expected to attract further investment from private companies. HCA is already searching for a business partner to lead construction on sections of the planning, including the access road. Construction is pencilled in to start at the beginning of the new year and after the appointment has been made. Extensive environmental work will also be required, with this set for completion in spring. Other parts of the application included outline plans for a new hotel, employment areas, a visitor information centre and up to 195 new homes. Leader of Forest of Dean district council Patrick Molyneux said this is a major step in the council's vision for the area, as it removes uncertainty over the future. HCA head of area David Warburton told a committee meeting that the Forest of Dean is now benefitting from a once in a generation opportunity. "This decision will help to bring huge benefits to the Forest of Dean for generations to come and is a massive boost for the area," he commented. "Local people and councillors have supported proposals for the regeneration of this former mining area for years," Mr Warburton continued, adding: "Their continued support has been demonstrated by their strong backing of the proposals."
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