A new football stadium for Forest Green Rovers and a hotel next to M5 could be built

Forest Green Rovers fans were able to watch matches at a new 5,000 seater football stadium next to the M5. Plans for the arena and a 100-bed hotel have been submitted by Gloucestershire-based green energy company Ecotricity.

The new home of the football club owned by Dale Vince, called Eco Park, will include indoor and outdoor grounds, a care village including a 70-bed care home as well as the hotel and grounds.

There are also plans for 37,700 square feet of office space, catering and retail areas, parking for 1,700 cars and landscaped parkland on the land reserved at Junction 13 of the M5 at the west of Stonehouse.

READ MORE: Calls on Forest Green boss Dale Vince to face FA charges of funding environmental protest group Stroud which disrupted Premier League game

The plans for the stadium were designed by the architectural firm founded by famed Zaha Hadid, built almost entirely of wood which the Ecotricity-sponsored club aims to reflect its ethos as the greenest football club in the world.

The facilities will include two additional football pitches, one with an all-weather 4G surface, as well as approximately 500 trees and 1.8 km of hedges planted on site to promote biodiversity.

ecological park

There will also be a new training complex, which will bring together Forest Green’s youth, academy, women’s and premier teams.

Ecotricity says the development will contribute around £150m to the local economy a year, while generating £2m a year in commercial rates for Stroud District Council.

The plans can be viewed on the Stroud District Council website under application reference S.22/0206/OUT, with people able to comment on the proposals.

Many comments have already been submitted to the site, both for and against the innovative proposals, addressing issues such as parking, access and building on land designated as greenbelt.

Several comments back the development, saying it will bring much-needed new jobs and opportunities to the area, as well as a long-awaited new home for the club.

One commentator said: “The current FGR stadium is no longer fit for purpose and match days are chaotic, despite the water and electricity supply issues. The proposed stadium will provide a long-term sustainable solution.

Another said that while he broadly supported the proposals, he was concerned about access and parking issues.

“If there is a cost to park there, the surrounding residential areas will see an increase in on-road parking, which will reduce what is available to residents. To increase its green credentials, the parking areas could be made available to those who share a car to work in Bristol for example or even as parking and a bus ride to Bristol.

Dale Vince was appointed chairman of Forest Green Rovers in 2010 and revolutionized the club
Dale Vince was appointed chairman of Forest Green Rovers in 2010 and revolutionized the club

Another said the development would be a boon for the region and the fans of the club, which is on the verge of winning promotion to Ligue 1.

“Stonehouse also needs jobs, and being directly next to the M5 businesses will compete for space there.

“Football training is also a problem in the region, trying to get to a place to train in winter is next to impossible and having an all-weather pitch will be a huge bonus for our young children.”

However, others pointed to a discrepancy between calling the new stadium an eco-friendly stadium and building it on green belt ground.

One person said: “I’m also concerned that an ‘eco’ stadium is being built on green belt ground, it seems to defeat the point of having an eco stadium” , while another said: “I also find it very ironic to title this proposal as ‘green’, given that you are building on green space”.

A person living near the proposed stadium in Great Oldbury has strongly opposed the proposal for fear it will cause traffic chaos in nearby streets.

“Despite proposed plans for electric buses to take supporters to and from the stadium, I know as a sports fan this will not be used; fans want to have a quick exit from the stadium or be picked up, they don’t want to wait for a bus when games end late.

And they added: “The destruction of the green fields is not ecological and the archaeological excavations which have already found ancient remains have already been abandoned with the next stage of planning moving forward.”

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