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Forest Green returns ‘Eco Park’ proposal to planners

English League Two football club Forest Green Rovers has resumed its attempts to push through its innovative stadium plan by revealing that the proposal has been resubmitted to local planners.

In June, Rovers saw their plans rejected by Stroud District Council, with the club’s chairman, Dale Vince, labelling the verdict as “farcical”. The Gloucestershire-based club selected Zaha Hadid Architects to design its new stadium in November 2016, when it was still a non-league outfit, and has spent years working on a project that ties in with its eco-friendly business model.

Uniquely, the 5,000-seat stadium is proposed to be built solely using wood and a June meeting of Stroud District Council’s development control committee had been asked to approve the stadium, along with 1,700 spaces for cars and two full-sized grass pitches.

At the time, the councillors said the reasons behind the rejection mainly revolved around concerns over lack of community benefit, as well as noise issues and impact on the landscape of the planned site on land near the M5 motorway.

Local newspaper the Stroud News & Journal said the newly-submitted proposal remains broadly similar to the original plan, but with one minor change. One of the two full-sized grass pitches has been altered to an all-weather surface. The club said the amendment has been made in order “to enable use of the pitch by local football clubs, thereby directly addressing the lack of sports provision within the district.”

Writing on his Facebook page, Vince said: “Eco Park is back in planning. We’ve resubmitted, (and a) decision (is) expected Oct (maybe).”

Forest Green has played homes games at the 5,100-capacity The New Lawn since 2006 and the new stadium was intended to be ready for the 2023-24 season.

Image: Zaha Hadid Architects