Ecotricity’s Eco Park proposal could plug almost all the £3m funding gap facing Stroud District Council by 2020
PUBLISHED: 15:57 19 April 2016 | UPDATED: 15:57 19 April 2016
Leading independent property consultants, Alder King, have carried out the study for the Eco Park project at junction 13 of the M5 motorway, and found “the proposed new development could generate annually around £2.7m in extra business rates” for Stroud District Council (SDC).
The extra potential income for SDC could be a significant boost given the council is forecasting a substantial funding shortfall by 2020.
By 2020, local councils will retain 100% of the money they raise in business rates. However, despite this change and a forecasted incremental increase in Council Tax revenue, the SDC has forecast a funding shortfall of £3m in 2020, which would swallow up the council’s reserves in just a single year.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “Eco Park has got a lot going for it already, and many people are excited about the potential combination of new business and sports facilities, as well as the potential transport, canal and ecological improvements.
“This latest study adds a new dimension – Stroud District Council is facing a huge funding shortfall, which Eco Park could pretty much plug. That’s a serendipitous twist, and it gives the council a good hedge against austerity come 2020.”
Eco Park is a proposed 100 acre sports and green technology centre located by Junction 13 on the M5 – half the development is dedicated to creating state-of-the-arts sporting facilities, including a new stadium for Forest Green Rovers, while the other half comprises a green technology business park capable of creating up to 4,000 jobs.
Stroud District Council is currently considering Eco Park for outline planning approval.
It will 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. The intention is that Eco Park will be a centre for local sports and sports science, all built around the new FGR stadium. The initial plan also includes public access to a wide variety of health and leisure activities, allowing people in the Stroud District and beyond to use the facilities and equipment.
The opposite part of Eco Park will comprise a green technology business park with sustainably built commercial offices and light industrial units, giving Eco Park the potential to create up to 4,000 jobs. The final element of the proposal is a nature reserve located on the west side of the M5. The overall concept also includes the potential development of a public transport hub, including a Stroud Park and Ride, and will also see Ecotricity help with the restoration of the Stroudwater canal under the M5.
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