Leicester City’s plans to create Europe’s best football training ground have been given the go-ahead.
The club secured planning permission to turn a 185-acre golf and fishing complex off the A46, eight miles north of Leicester, into a £100 million complex where the first team squad will practice.
Members of Charnwood Borough Council's planning committee met in Loughborough last night (11th of October) to debate the Foxes' plans to relocate from their current training base at Aylestone in the city.
The decision was reached with a vote of eight to four for the plans after a two-hour and 20 minute discussion. Seagrave Parish Councillor Roger Brown said: "This is a vast closed business enterprise for the benefit of an elite few."
Some people living near the former Park Hill Golf Course, which City plans to transform, have opposed the move. The council received around 170 objections to the club’s application.
Concerns include nearby residents’ fears about noise from cheering crowds at a planned 499-seat spectator pitch.
Worries have also been lodged about light pollution from floodlights and the impact of extra traffic on nearby rural roads.
Concerns over vehicle movement at the busy junction of Park Hill Lane and the A46 prompted calls for the club to fund a new bridge over it so people coming to and from the new training ground would not have to negotiate multiple lanes of fast moving traffic on the A46.
Despite the concerns, planning officers at the council said the club's proposals were acceptable.
Niall Alcock, representing the club, said the training ground's design process has taken into account residents' concerns and that the complex would be the most advanced in Europe.
The site will contain:
- A covered show pitch with 499 seats, spectator toilets and an elevated camera platform
- 12 full size football pitches
- Six part-size size grass pitches
- Two goalkeeper areas
- One attacking area
- Five warm-up and technical training areas
- A sports hall
- Hydrotherapy, medical , rehabilitation and dining facilities.
- 30 bedrooms for the players and management
- 421 parking spaces
It will also have education facilities and offices, and be the first sports turf academy in the country to train groundsmen.
A club spokesperson said: