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Chapter 49

Whitecroft and Pillowell

Introduction

49.1 Whitecroft is part of the Forest Ring of settlements which follow the coal outcrop around the edge of the Statutory Forest. It lies on the southern perimeter of this ring about 6 Kilometres north of Lydney, and astride the B.4234. The village is set within the Special Landscape Area of the Plan, and is bounded by forest to the north.

49.2 To the east lies Pillowell, an attractive relatively open settlement on a hillside. It is joined to Whitecroft and to Yorkley but has a distinct much more open character than either. This is largely due to the generally low levels of development that have been permitted in the past in Pillowell where relief and access together with planning policy have led to a situation where there has been very little change over the last 25 years. Pillowell consequently exemplifies many of the settlement characteristics that typify the Forest Ring and for this reason much of the settlement is designated as a Conservation Area.

49.3 The villages owe their origins to the history of mineral extraction and metal based industries in the area. The older housing is typical of this early industrial period and can be readily identified in Pillowell and in parts of Whitecroft. However, the original settlement of Whitecroft with the exception of the eastern part of the village has been developed in such a way as to mask this original settlement pattern. The eastern part of Whitecroft is included within the Conservation Area. Areas of more recent (mainly post war) housing estate development now comprise by far the largest part of Whitecroft. This development has continued into recent years. Whitecroft is an important source of employment for a more than local area, with several substantial employers located within the village.

49.4 Whitecroft has a relatively limited range of services even though it is a village with a large population. These include a Post Office, a fish and chip shop, three public houses and two recreation grounds. As indicated above, there are significant manufacturing businesses in the village, producing metal fasteners, insulation materials, a tyre sales depot and a vehicle repairer. Pillowell by contrast has a school and no other services though there is some local employment in the form of a coach depot. It does however take advantage of its close proximity to Yorkley where there are a good range of services and some additional employment (at time of writing, not at time of website publication).

Pillowell

49.6 No new dwellings have been completed over the past 14 years, though several building conversions have taken place. The present population of the village is about 250 with a housing stock of 101. There were no outstanding consents within Pillowell on 1st January, 2000.

Development Strategy

49.8 The entire settlement of Pillowell is one where the effects of past infilling and changes have not obscured the overall open and spacious character that was once commonplace in both the larger and the smaller settlements in the Forest Ring. This spacious and open character is now most obvious in smaller settlements that have not in the past been regarded as suitable locations for further development. The strategy for Pillowell is therefore dominated by the need to protect the form and character of the settlement. This will leave only very limited development opportunities.

49.9 The majority of Pillowell is located within a designated Conservation Area and in addition much of the village is covered by policy (R)F.Pillowell/Whitecroft.1, an area within which new dwellings will only be permitted where the development results in a significant improvement to the built environment or to the amenity of the area. The Plan therefore provides a clear context within which applications for development will be evaluated and will enable appropriate enhancements to the fabric of the village.

Environment

Natural environment

49.16 Pillowell in sharp contrast with Whitecroft has several large open areas. In addition the relatively large gardens, paddocks and other incidental spaces add greatly to the overall character of the settlement. The forest edge adjoining the village also adds to local amenity, as do the views out from the hillside location of Pillowell into adjoining forest. The Plan will safeguard this intrinsic character of Pillowell. The Conservation Area Character Assessment for Pillowell provides further detail of local character.

Forest of Dean District Local Plan Review, 1st Deposit Draft. July 2000