I DESPAIR. This column has always been concerned about the quality of local government and has held the consistent view that we had at least one layer too many.
The refusal of Stroud District Council to allow the new Forest Green Rovers stadium increases my ire.
I make no secret of my love of the football club but that means this is not written in ignorance. Living in GL7 I speak to many football fans. A constant phrase I hear is “we would love to come to FGR, but it is the parking”.
Despite the herculean efforts of the club and a good park and ride scheme, this remains an insurmountable problem. The two final matches of the season highlighted these problems.
Then we need to consider the club itself. The UN and FIFA recognise the pioneering views of chairman Dale Vince. The club’s sustainability ethos has earned worldwide respect.
It is a jewel in footballs crown and it’s ours. The general history of the club is one of consistent progress in so many ways. Never relegated, this once village club has maintained consistent progress. It should be celebrated and assisted by the local authority, but no.
Professional advice was ignored by too many councillors, who acted to thwart the plans. SDC does not have a fine record on incisive action – think of Tricorn House.
Did they not realise the stadium would stage no more than 30 first team games per season?
This decision is not just wrong – it is small minded and smacks of nimbyism.