Proceedings are dragging on forever but there is progress at the end of the day. The long-awaited planning permission has been signed and is valid, now detailed design work is ongoing for what is advertised as the world's most sustainable stadium.
You may recall that Forest Green Rovers' proposed new stadium was granted outline planning permission back in December of last year. Which was big news because of the narrow margin (6 for, 4 against), previous lack of approval and the fact that it's supposed to be the most sustainable stadium ever built. And the first professional football venue to be built mostly out of wood.
However, the decision coincided with UK's election, which meant that the area got a new MP, Siobhan Baillie. She backed calls of opponents of the stadium for the project to be called in for review by secretary of state. Had that happened, it would mean further months of delay. And though the secretary of state decided not to carry out a full review, it still took 4 months of waiting during the COVID-19 period.
Then two agreements had to be signed, with Stroud Council and County Council, to seal the planning permission. As Forest Green Rovers owner Dale Vince confirmed via facebook, these agreements were signed very recently.
“The first with Stroud Council was fairly straight forward, the second with the County Council took much longer (though it was much simpler) - we nailed that last week and today, drum roll…Stroud Council issued the formal planning permission. It’s finally official.” Vince wrote on August 21.
Now that detailed design work is going forward, we expect the stadium to be ready for construction in 2021, roughly as was anticipated. Details still have to be approved once filed, but it should be much easier to get the green light than before.
Back to the business park
You may recall, the initial stadium scheme was to be accompanied by a sustainable business park. That part was rejected and had to be dropped from Dale Vince's plan in order to push the stadium forward in a timely manner.
“Meanwhile we’ve submitted an application for two training pitches and we’re working with the council on a masterplan for the Local Plan review (next spring) – which will see the return of the green tech biz park – we perhaps need those jobs more than ever now.” the entrepreneur added in his facebook post.