Dale Vince has announced that Forest Green Rovers will fight the decision to refuse planning permission for the club’s new stadium.
Stroud District Council‘s development control committee backed a proposal to refuse the plans after a four hour meeting at Ebley Mill on Wednesday night.
Rovers chairman Vince said: “I wasn’t sure about an appeal, that night after the meeting – I was tempted to walk away, frustrated perhaps more than anything else, after all we’ve been at this for four years already (an appeal will take another year) – but torn, because of what would be lost and because the people responsible for that loss wouldn’t actually carry that. And I think it would be a big loss.
“So we have to put this right and fight this ridiculous decision – we’re going to lodge an appeal and at the same time we’re going tor resubmit the application, to give the council a second chance.
“We’re talking to them now about that and about small changes we could make, clarifications really, that might deal with some of the less bizarre issues raised on the night – in case that might help.
“But essentially it will be the same application. It will be back with them shortly.
“I’m confident of our prospects on appeal – not least because we have the recommendation of the officers of the council and all the experts that have been engaged on issues like noise and traffic (for example).
“I want to thank everybody for all the messages of support here, it made a really big difference, it lifted me, helped me pick myself up and see what needed to be done.”
WE’RE APPEALING THE DECISION…
— Forest Green Rovers (@FGRFC_Official) June 14, 2019
Vince has described the decision to refuse planning permission for the club’s new stadium as ‘farcical’ following the meeting on Wednesday.
In a video posted on his Facebook page the Ecotricity boss said he was disappointed and surprised at the decision, adding it was ‘a little bit farcical at the end’.
Mr Vince was referring to the short break taken by councillors after voting not to approve the plans and before voting to refuse them.
Those councillors who voted against permission conversed with the planning officer to build a case for refusal.
Mr Vince describing the scheme as a ‘visionary project which would have been great for Stroud and for the football club.’ He blamed a ‘lack of big picture mentality’ for the decision.
When questioned if he planned to appeal he said: “I don’t know if we’ll bother.”
He added there were other options for the land including building houses.
The application for Eco Park, on fields off junction 13 of the M5, had been recommended for approval by planning officers.
The plans – submitted by Mr Vince’s energy firm, Ecotricity – include a 5,000-seater stadium designed by world-renowned architects Zaha Hadid.
Also included were a club shop, food and drink facilities, a fitness suite for FGR, two training pitches and 1,700 parking spaces for cars, coaches and bicycles.
For the full story from Wednesday’s council meeting – Dale Vince blasts stadium decision as ‘farcical’