This latest blog entry discusses the recent planning rejection of Forest Green Rovers’ new stadium, the Eco Park. Forest Green Rovers were named last year as the greenest football club in the world, their current stadium in Nailsworth is powered by renewable energy and utilises recycled rainwater. Their chairman Dale Vince responded to the recent decision by Eastington Parish Council:
“I am a little bit disappointed about what happened. It is a poor show. Four years of work have gone into this, and the council has spent a lot of time and money doing this job properly.
“It was properly assessed, recommended for approval. They are on weak ground and maybe we will appeal but that is another year of my life. The fans will be disappointed and devastated. If you go around the district of Stroud there will be a lot of people disappointed.”
The stadium had originally been recommended for planning by Stroud District Council but a motion to approve the new ground was subsequently rejected. The winning design was conceptualised by Zaha Hadid Architects and embodied low carbon construction methods, it would have been the first all timber football stadium with almost every element made from sustainably sourced timber. The aim of the new stadium was to be carbon neutral or carbon negative and included measures such as the provision of on-site renewable energy generation. The stadium design played a key role in illustrating that sustainable architecture can be dynamic, beautiful and practical. The development itself also featured a 100 acre sports and green technology business park as well as the development of a nature reserve and new public transport hub.
Objections raised by the Parish Council included the following, and whilst clearly important issues it is disappointing that a more proactive approach was not taken to help support the growth of sustainable development, particularly in a market with such a large global influence and also one which is backed so heavily financially.
- At almost 20m, the highest part of the site will detract from the setting of several historic hamlets in the parish
- The loss of existing landscaping and ecological value is not sufficiently avoided or mitigated
- The proposed £7 car parking charge will see cars parking on verges and estate roads to avoid the charge