Go-ahead for 5,000-seat Gloucs stadium outside settlement boundary

A Gloucestershire council has approved plans for a new 5,000 capacity stadium for Forest Green Rovers Football Club, despite the proposed location sitting outside the defined settlement limits.

A visualisation of the stadium. Image by Forest Green Rovers
A visualisation of the stadium. Image by Forest Green Rovers

On Wednesday, Stroud District Council's planning committee voted 6-4 in favour of Forest Green Rovers' revised application for the Eco Park stadium on a 39.5 hectare site at Eastington, six months after the club's previous proposal was refused.

The new stadium, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, would involve the club shifting base from its current home at the New Lawn in Nailsworth to the Eastington site.

Plans for the scheme also comprise an all-weather practice pitch for community use, as well as a car park with 1,700 spaces.

A previous application for the development had been rejected by the council in June due to a range of concerns including that the scheme would sit outside defined development boundaries and landscape impacts. The refusal was against a recommendation for approval from planners.

A planning report on the new application said that, despite the site being outside development limits, it is "not an isolated location" and an indicative proposed design and an improved landscaping strategy "will help integrate the scheme into [the] surrounding landscape".

The report advised that the scheme would also provide "significant sustainable benefits" including the building’s design and construction materials.

The report said the scheme would be "low carbon and low impact, with measures introduced to minimise energy use, water, waste and pollution".

Planners also said that, as far as highway matters were concerned, Highways England had raised no objections, subject to mitigation, and Gloucestershire County Council’s highways department had raised no objection to the principle of the proposed access to the site, subject to planning conditions.

Recommending approval, planners advised that match day public transport plans should include buses extending from Nailsworth, Stroud and Stonehouse, while improvements proposed to junction 13 of the M5 would help cope with weekday rush hour peaks.

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