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    By Maya Maloney
    Jul 17, 2015

    Ecotricity, the Stroud-based green energy company, has today unveiled plans to develop a 100 acre sports and green technology centre at Junction 13 on the M5 – dubbed ‘Eco Park’, the development would require an investment of £100m and could create up to 4,000 new jobs

    Located on either side of the A419, half of Eco Park will be dedicated to creating state-of-the-arts sporting facilities, including an all-seater stadium for Forest Green Rovers, training fields, 4G pitches, multi-disciplinary sporting facilities, as well as a sports science hub.

    The other half of Eco Park will comprise a green technology business park with sustainably built commercial offices and light industrial units potentially capable of servicing up to 4,000 jobs.

    Ecotricity is seeking feedback on the overall concept and will hold public consultations over the coming weeks at its offices in Stroud and at The New Lawn stadium near Nailsworth. 

    The overall concept also includes the potential development of a public transport hub, including a Stroud Park and Ride, and will also see Ecotricity work with the Cotswold Canals Trust to open up part of the ‘missing mile’ of the Stroudwater canal beside the M5.   

    Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder and FGR Chairman, said: “Eco Park could be a fantastic development for Stroud, a great new home for Forest Green Rovers, and a centre of excellence for sport in Gloucestershire.  

    “At the same time, it’s going to be a place where green businesses and technology companies come together and share ideas, a real focal point of creativity and innovation for the area – and a part of the green industrial revolution that’s beginning to take off around the world.

    “Today we’re going public with the concept and it marks the beginning of the consultation phase – we’re keen to hear what people think and we’re open to ideas.”

    Ecotricity is the biggest employer in Stroud with 600 people located across four buildings in the town centre, and has recently opened a new factory to manufacture small windmills at Q Park in Stroud – part of the idea of Eco Park is also to provide room for the continued expansion of the company’s operations.

    Dale continued: “We love it in Stroud, we want to stay here, and Eco Park will enable us to do that. We have a number of new ideas we’re working on that will need space and will create more jobs – Eco Park would be a perfect place for that.

    David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a fantastic concept and would have huge benefits for Stroud and Gloucestershire. Our Strategic Economic Plan highlights the unique opportunity the M5 corridor offers through the Growth Zone. It’s a great location with excellent transport links, and could provide a huge employment boost for the area.

    “Like many areas, Stroud has its large share of out-commuters – talent going out of Stroud for work. Eco Park would be a chance to keep talent and investment in the area, so we’re excited to be involved.”

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