Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince has announced that work on the League One club’s all-wooden stadium has commenced.
The Eco Park development will be built next to Junction 13 of the M5 motorway in Gloucestershire. Green energy company Ecotricity revealed revised plans for the 5,000-seat stadium in January 2022 after the project was approved in December 2019.
In a tweet this morning, Vince revealed that work on the stadium is underway with the sinking of a series of boreholes. Vince said the move will allow the club to “get an understanding of the ground conditions” so that the foundations of the stadium can be designed.
Forest Green claims to be the greenest football club in the world. The club’s plans for an all-wooden stadium were initially rejected by Stroud District Council in June 2019 – a verdict Vince labelled as “farcical” – before permission was granted in December following a resubmitted proposal.
The site will feature 38,000 square metres of office space and 18,000 square metres of industrial space, with the space designed to host companies working in the zero-carbon economy.
The full stadium plan submitted in January 2022 aligned with proposed changes to the local plan and the district council and Gfirst LEP’s intention to bring green industries and knowledge-intensive sectors into the M5 growth zone.
Rovers said the plans will improve the habitat on the site, with a biodiversity net gain of almost 12%. The site is also expected to self-generate over 80% of all energy used.
Forest Green currently plays at The New Lawn, which has had a number of eco-friendly naming-rights sponsors over the years. It is currently sponsored by mobility app Bolt.