Gloucestershire

Stroud £100m business park and stadium plan unveiled

Ecotricity park Image copyright Zaha Hadid
Image caption If approved, the business park would be built off junction 13, near Stroud

The design for a £100m business park in Gloucestershire has been unveiled by the green energy businessman Dale Vince.

The founder of Ecotricity and chairman of Forest Green Rovers FC hopes to build the park near Stroud.

He said: "With Eco-Park we hope to push the boundaries of sustainable development."

However, critics say the park is not included in Stroud's growth strategy and ruins the existing landscape.

'Full of wildlife'

The plans and a 3-D model of the park were shown to more than 100 businesses in Stroud earlier, ahead of the outline planning application, which the company aims to submit in July.

It is hoping is to obtain local support before the plans are considered by Stroud District Council to avoid lengthy planning disputes.

Last year, the council agreed its Local Plan, which is the blueprint for jobs and housing growth, but this land is not earmarked for development.

Instead, another business park has already been agreed about one mile away in Stonehouse.

Critic of the plan, Mark Campbell, said: "We've got lovely green fields, full hedgerows, full of wildlife already, it's already adjacent to the Frome corridor already - which is a special wildlife site."

Image copyright Zaha Hadid
Image caption Critics of the plan say it will spoil the local countryside

If built, the park would be situated near junction 13 of the M5 near the west of Stonehouse.

It would cover 100 acres, include a new dual carriageway on the A419, a "green technology hub", a new football stadium and promises to "make more room for nature".

In a statement, Ecotricity said: "An independent study by Regeneris found Eco Park will be worth almost £300m to the Gloucestershire economy every year, creating up to 4,000 jobs."

However, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) group has objected strongly to the plans.

"Stroud District Council has an up to date Local Plan prepared through a rigorous process of consultation," said Richard Lloyd, vice chairman of CPRE Gloucestershire.

"The planning application for a football stadium and eco-park was submitted almost before the ink on the newly adopted plan was dry and the proposals are clearly contrary to the plan's policies in most respects."

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