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Gloucestershire Business News

Decision on new multi-million pound sports stadium

A decision is due to be made tonight on a new 5,000 capacity sports stadium just off the M5 motorway in Gloucestershire.

Plans for Forest Green Rovers' new ground have been recommended for approval by council planners.

But a decision on outline planning permission is due to be made by Stroud District Council's development control committee this evening, Wednesday, June 12, at 6pm.

If approved, work can then begin on the finer details of the plan that will see Rovers leave Nailsworth and move 7.5 miles north west to land close to Junction 13 of the M5 motorway.

The stadium would be built on land to the north of the A419 - a different location to when a more involved version of the scheme, complete with eco business park, was first revealed in January 2016.

Back then, the club's owner, Ecotricity founder Dale Vince, submitted proposals for a sports complex, green technology hub and nature conservation area on land owned by Ecotricity surrounding junction 13.

Under the original plan the land to the north of the A419 would have been transformed into employment land for up to 4,470 jobs.

The south side of the A419 would have been home to the football ground and a parcel of land to the west of junction 13 was earmarked for a nature conservation area.

The plans were changed in December 2017 to the current scheme which is for the stadium, a car park for 1,700 car parking spaces and a new training base for the League Two club.

Rovers have already commissioned renowned architects Zaha Hadid to design the 5,000 stadium, which will be the world's first stadium to be built entirely from wood.

According to a letter sent by Rovers chairman Dale Vince to Stroud planners in February, the club have outgrown their home at the top of Spring Hill in Nailsworth.

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He said: "Clearly the club have not taken the decision lightly as we have had a long and established relationship with Nailsworth.

"But in order to enable the development and progression of the club, as well as the growth of football and other sports in Stroud district, the decision has been made to move to Junction 13 and created a land mark (sic) stadium."

The new home will initially seat 5,000 spectators in continuous stands around all sides of the pitch.

According to Mr Vince's letter, "the new stadium could with no structural changes be upgraded to seat 10,000 fans thereby future proofing the move, while allowing us to operate in a more suitable sized stadium."

It adds that: "Increasing the capacity will of course require a new planning application, but the stadium and its environs have been designed to accommodate this growth from the outset."

If the outline plans are approved by the council's development control committee at the meeting next week, the club will submit full plans that include the finite details of the scheme.

In the associated documents the recommendation of the planners is to grant permission.

The meeting is due to take place in the council chamber at Ebley Mill at 6pm tonight (Wednesday, June 12).

Read more: Land refused for football stadium could become 1,000 homes 

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