Five Acres - Councillors and staff

All systems go! Five Acres receives planning approval for new business, leisure and education facilities

The new leisure, enterprise and education facility at Five Acres in Berry Hill received planning permission on Tuesday 13 February, following a decision by the Council’s Development Management Committee.

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 building 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 the hard-working council staff and partners, including demolition experts Armac, architects AHR, project and cost consultants Pick Everard and leading construction and property developer BAM, who have all 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, which is a part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Following planning permission, the project can proceed with its initial phase. This focuses on the re-purposing of the Speedwell building from the previous classrooms to create new office & 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 parking layout which will introduce 12 electric vehicle charging spaces on the site for the first time.  

Full details for the Five Acres site redevelopment, as well as documents including designs, and comments and questions from previous public forum events can be found at the link below:

Contact Information

Forest of Dean Communications Team

[email protected]

Notes to editors

Details of the approved planning application can be found on the Forest of Dean planning portal, by searching reference number P1435_23_FUL at the following link:

Photo caption:  Councillor Johnathan Lane Cabinet Member for Economy on the digger at the Five Acres site with (from left to right) Councillor Chris McFarling Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency,  Jason Lamb from build contractor BAM, Councillor Adrian Birch Cabinet Member for Built Environment, West Dean Parish Council Member, Cllr James Richmond, West Dean Parish Council Clerk, Kim Carpenter and Representative from design consultants Pick Everard Peter Woods