FOREST GREEN chairman Dale Vince is optimistic his plans for a brand new football stadium will be given the green light in the new year.

The proposed Eco Park ground next to the A419 near Junction 13 on the M5, had previously featured plans for a £100m green technology business park, which could have been home to 4,000 jobs.

Rovers’ chief feels he’s now seeing light at the end of the lengthy planning tunnel which started in January 2016.

Vince, who owns green energy firm Ecotricity, said: "The stadium is the most important part in the short term - the thing we need the most, and the easiest thing for planners to approve - so we're removing the obstacles.

"It is frustrating, but I have a meeting with them this week (Stroud District Council) and we're hoping for outline consent in the new year and we'll take it from there.

“ We’re on it all the time, reminding that we’re still waiting for a decision and feeding them more information as they ask for it.

“I’m meeting with them (planners) this week,” Vince revealed. “I don’t think we’ll get a decision this side of Christmas, but we do look like we’re headed for a recommended approval.

"It is a matter for them to find a date - where they can hold a meeting - they’ve not been able to do it before Christmas for the most bizarre of reasons. It is frustrating for me, three years in planning, but my first windmill took five years, so we’re not doing too badly, it is a big project, but I think it will be alright and we’ll get outline consent in the new year and we’ll take it from there."

The League Two club want to build a 5,000 capacity ground, made almost entirely out of wood and designed by world renowned architects Zaha Hadid.

The idea is for the stadium and its surroundings to reflect the sustainable ethos of the world’s greenest football club.

They have also sought permission to improve the A419 from Junction 13 of the M5 to Chipmans Platt roundabout.

This will include traffic lights to the site, a pedestrian and cycle crossing, and a combined footway/cycleway which will link to national cycle route 45 at Grove Lane.

The new stadium would be sited in parkland where some five hundred trees and 1.8km of new hedgerows would be planted.

FGR’s current home at The New Lawn stadium in Nailsworth would be turned into affordable low carbon homes.