Initial plans for a new stadium for English National League side, Forest Green Rovers (FGR), have been unveiled by the Club and Ecotricity, the Stroud-based green energy company, as part of a 100-acre sports and green technology centre called ‘Eco Park’.
Located at Junction 13 of the M5, half of Eco Park will be dedicated to creating state-of-the-arts sporting facilities, including a 5,000-capacity all-seater stadium for FGR (capable of expansion to 10,000), training fields, 4G pitches, multi-disciplinary sporting area, as well as a sports science hub.
The other half of Eco Park will comprise a green technology business park with sustainably built commercial offices and light industrial units potentially capable of creating up to 4,000 jobs.
A public consultation on the initial ‘concept design’ will now begin, including a meeting with the FGR Advisory Board and ‘drop-in sessions’ at The New Lawn stadium in the coming weeks for fans to provide feedback on the plans.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder and FGR Chairman, said:
Eco Park could be a fantastic development for Stroud, a great new home for Forest Green Rovers, and a centre of excellence for sport in Gloucestershire.
At the same time, it’s going to be a place where green businesses and technology companies come together and share ideas, a real focal point of creativity and innovation for the area – and a part of the green industrial revolution that’s beginning to take off around the world.
Today we’re going public with the concept and it marks the beginning of the consultation phase – we’re keen to hear what people think and we’re open to ideas.
Ecotricity is the biggest employer in Stroud, with 600 people located across four buildings in the town centre, and has recently opened a new factory to manufacture small windmills at Q Park in Stroud – part of the idea of Eco Park is also to provide room for the continued expansion of the company’s operations.
David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
This is a fantastic concept and would have huge benefits for Stroud and Gloucestershire. Our Strategic Economic Plan highlights the unique opportunity the M5 corridor offers through the Growth Zone. It’s a great location with excellent transport links, and could provide a huge employment boost for the area.
Like many areas, Stroud has its large share of out-commuters – talent going out of Stroud for work. Eco Park would be a chance to keep talent and investment in the area, so we’re excited to be involved.