Plans to expand Brighton & Hove Albion’s training grounds are expected to be approved next week.
An application for the grounds, in Mash Barn Lane, Lancing, will be considered by Adur District Council’s planning committee on Monday (May 13).
If approved, the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre would take over a neighbouring patch of land at North Barn Farm which is home to ‘dilapidated and disused farm buildings’.
The work will include an additional three pitches and a training grid as well as an extra 51 parking spaces.
The existing training centre building will be expanded and a single-storey ‘Club Hub’ will be added, complete with changing rooms for women and girls, community changing rooms and pitch-side seating for parents and coaches.
Reconfiguration work will see the rearrangement of the existing pitches, an indoor pitch, show pitch, spectator stand, floodlighting and camera tower.
Albion executive director and chair of Albion in the Community, Martin Perry, said: “The approval of these plans would be fantastic news for both the club and Albion in the Community.
“The plans represent a further investment by the club of £22 million in new facilities at the training ground, including a further £1 million in the facilities adjacent to the community pitch, allowing the club’s charity to undertake even more of the brilliant work they do across Lancing and Adur District.
“This is also incredibly exciting news for our women’s and girls’ programme, as it allows Hope Powell and her team to have a dedicated facility on site to cater for the senior players, and for our younger players coming through our Regional Talent Club.
“It further demonstrates our commitment to creating an elite environment for everyone at the football club.”
Women’s first-team and former England manager Hope Powell said: “The opportunity to build a new facility at the club’s training ground would not only be beneficial to the women’s game, but also for the wider community through AITC too.
“It would allow all players from grassroots and professional level to be in one place, allowing even more aspiring footballers to fulfil their potential.
“It shows just how ambitious the club is in creating an elite environment for both the men’s and women’s players, and I am very proud to put my support behind this fantastic project.”
The council has received 19 letters supporting the application and 13 objections.
Lancing Parish Council also objected, calling the plans ‘overdevelopment ‘ and raising concerns about the extra noise and traffic the changes would bring.
Other objectors worried about the loss of green space, increased pollution and the impact the relocation of the floodlights would have on nearby homes,
One was also worried that the floodlights and subsequent glare would impact on their right to fly and land a helicopter on their property.
Supporters of the plans said those opposing the idea were ‘simply doing so for personal outdated reasons’.
Others welcomed the improvements to the women and girls’ teams facilities and said Albion had an ‘excellent record of developing links with the community and providing facilities for the disadvantaged and disabled’.
The meeting will be held in the Queen Elizabeth II Room at the Shoreham Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, at 7pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Search AWDM/0236/19 on Adur’s website to see the plans.