AN AMBITIOUS bid for £20 million of investment in the Forest will aim to bring a “destination” leisure facility to Five Acres, revitalise Cinderford town centre and boost education opportunities through Hartpury University.

The bid for money from the government’s Levelling Up fund is being brought together by the Forest Council, Cinderford Town Council and Hartpury University and is being supported by Forest MP Mark Harper.

Leader of the Forest Council, Cllr Tim Gwilliam, said the potential investment would be a “generational opportunity”.

The bid package will consist of a £9m investment at the Five Acres site, bringing new leisure and sports facilities and flexible community space to the area including a satellite facility for Hartpury University and Hartpury College.

There is also a new £10m innovation, careers and enterprise learning centre at Hartpury and an £880k building refurbishment programme in Cinderford town centre.

“The three linked projects in this bid are incredibly exciting and would build connections across the Forest, provide new jobs and new education opportunities, encourage cohesive communities and help people stay active and healthy through great new sports and leisure facilities.

“We want to raise aspirations, support ambition and provide new opportunities to help build a better future for people across the Forest, especially our young people.

“We believe this proposal will do that and we are working very hard with our partners to put together the best possible bid and hopefully bring this vital funding to the Forest.”

At Five Acres, the plan is to create a new leisure and community hub that would bring the derelict site back into use providing modern leisure, community and business facilities for the area and an artificial all weather sports pitch.

It would also include a satellite site for Hartpury University and Hartpury College, bringing new education opportunities for young people to the Forest.

In Cinderford the proposal includes the regeneration of a number of key buildings across the town centre, bringing them back into use to provide modern co-working spaces for start-up.

The learning centre at Hartpury is aimed at boosting the numbers of over-16s from the Forest who go onto higher education.