Forest Green have been granted outline planning permission for the world’s first wooden football stadium, which will be built near to Junction 13 of the M5.
When complete it aims to be the world’s greenest football stadium, constructed entirely from timber and powered by sustainable energy sources.
It was the second attempt to gain planning permission for the 5,000-seat timber stadium after the original proposal was blocked by Stroud’s local council in June 2019.
The architects changed the stadium design to include an all-weather pitch and included a different landscaping strategy. This was to reduce worries that the stadium design did not sufficiently make up for the loss of green fields it will be built on. An improved match day transport plan was also included, following planning committee concerns about noise and traffic.
The outline permission was voted through by six votes for and four against on 18 December 2019. Councillor Miranda Clifton commented “This building is iconic, it could be a tourist attraction”. “At the moment we are known for our waste incinerator.”
A transparent membrane will cover the stadium, allowing the grass to grow under the sunlight and minimising shadows that could distract players during the game.
The Supporters’ Club has consistently supported the planning applications by Ecotricity for both the new stadium and the consequent and subsequent redevelopment of The New Lawn for housing. TNL is a wonderful ground but FGR has been a victim of its own success – it will be an emotional wrench to leave the ground and the area. Last season’s Supporters’ Survey though, showed fans were frustrated with the growing problems associated with The New Lawn trying to cope with our increased crowds. There are difficulties with access, parking and the inability of the infrastructure (space, electricity and water) to meet demand. Changes have been put in place to try and ease these pressures, but a new stadium is the preferred best option for the majority of fans.
The club has had the vision to plan a stunning new stadium in an ideal location. This will meet our first team football needs, allow training on-site for the Academy & Women’s team and offer opportunities for community use. It will showcase the gateway to Stroud, give further publicity to the green values inherent in the project and ensure the canal project receives funding it needs.