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Ambitious plans for 4,000-job Eco Park in Stroud are taking shape

PUBLISHED: 16:04 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:05 20 April 2017

Ecotricity's proposed Gateway to Stroud development

Ecotricity's proposed Gateway to Stroud development

Archant

Ambitious plans have been unveiled for Stroud’s new Eco Park, which could create up to 4,000 scientific and tech jobs and plough almost £300 million into the county

More than 100 businesses gathered at Stonehouse Court to hear ambitious plans for the 100-acre sustainable site laid out by Ecotricity founder Dale Vince.

The Gateway to Stroud showcase included plans for a new dual carriageway on the A419, concept designs for Eco Park’s Green Technology Hub, the new Forest Green Rovers football stadium - the first made from wood - and a Zaha Hadid-designed footbridge linking the two sides of the development.

Business breakfast delegates were presented with a 3D model of the 100-acre site and a digital animation showing motorists what the new gateway will look like as they drive towards Stroud from Junction 13 of the M5.

Ecotricity has applied to Stroud District Council for outline planning permission for the development, which the company hopes will be granted over the coming months.

Half of the site will be given over to state-of-the-art sporting facilities, including Forest Green’s new ground, and a nature reserve.

The other will comprise the green technology business park.

Commercial units will provide 64,000m sq of floor space for world-leading research and development projects, which Ecotricity estimates will plough £288 million GVA into the Gloucestershire economy.

Mr Vince said: “With Eco Park, we hope to push the boundaries of sustainable development, create 4,000 jobs in the green economy, a world-class football stadium and make more room for nature with a big biodiversity boost, as well as creating a new gateway to Stroud.”

Zaha Hadid Architects, whose Iraqi-born founder Dane Zaha Hadid won the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011 and was the 2004 winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, is behind the wooden bridge.

A spokesman said: “The bridge design creates one single, fluid form by fusing together individual timber elements.

“This important, unifying gesture builds connections for the community, conveying Eco Park as a facility for all.”

Plans are driven by the highest eco building standards, a focus on green transport and the importance of fostering eco-science education links.

And an independent study by WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff has shown the site will significantly improve the biodiversity of the land around J13 with further gains for birds, bees, reptiles and amphibians through the restoration of the ‘missing mile’ of the Stroudwater canal.

A decision on the final design of the central Green Technology Hub will be made when a full planning application is submitted.

“The Hub proposals apply the latest sustainable design technologies with ecologically sound materials and construction methods to create an integrated community for world-leading research and development,” added the ZHA spokesman.

Stroud’s Conservative MP Neil Carmichael attended the event, along with Angus Taylor, head of commercial at Bruton Knowles’ Gloucester office.

“Ecotricity has presented a dynamic vision for an Eco Park which represents one of the most exciting commercial developments in the region for decades,” said Mr Taylor.

“It’s great to see such a well-put-together plan that provides much-needed quality commercial space.”

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