Green electricity company, Ecotricity, has submitted refreshed plans to build a new football stadium for Forest Green Rovers FC and a green tech business park next to Junction 13 of the M5 motorway in Gloucestershire.
Once complete, the Stroud-based firm estimates the whole development will create 5,000 new jobs (3,500 on the site and 1,500 off it), contribute £150m annually to the county economy and generate £2 million per year in business rates for the district council.
Outline planning permission for the all-wooden, Zaha Hadid Architects-designed 5,000 seat stadium was given in December 2019, but the refreshed plans contain detail on the land on both sides of the A419; the proposed business park with its 38,000 square metres of office space and 18,000 square metres of industrial space; a care home and a 100-bedroom hotel.
The new plans, submitted to the district council on Thursday 27 January 2022 and according to Ecotricity seek to formally align the scheme with proposed changes to the local plan – and Stroud District Council and local enterprise partnership GFirst LEP’s aim of attracting green industries and knowledge-intensive sectors to the area.
Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity and chairman of Nailsworth-based Forest Green Rovers, said: ‘It’s taken a long time to get here, but Eco Park and the local plan are now aligned and we are measurably closer to being able to start work.’
A four-month archaeological dig now needs to take place. Work could then begin as early as spring 2022 on the first phase – a training complex for all of Forest Green’s teams backed by the club’s partner, sustainable investment firm Candriam.
By Andrew Merrell