Manchester City step closer to new training centre
Mon 19th Sep 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities
Manchester City Football Club has today submitted a planning application following a 6 week period of public consultation with local residents, fans and other interested parties, for a proposed youth development and first team Academy in the Openshaw West area of East Manchester.
The Club’s exhibition, which showcases the proposals and was a central component to the public consultation, attracted in excess of 7000 visitors online and in person and revealed a 97% approval rating from respondents. Opinions of the residents of East Manchester helped to shape the Club's planning application, the completion of which is expected towards the end of the year.
The proposed development of up to 80 acres of brown field land diagonally opposite to the Etihad Stadium and acquired by the Club over the past two years, would, should planning permission be granted, form part of the Etihad Campus as announced in early July this year.
The Club have release new visual images of the proposed facility, which form part of the application submitted to Manchester City Council and which are available for public viewing from today.
Key elements of the planning submission are as follows:
Manchester City has entered a new phase in the long term strategy set out by the Club’s owner three years ago. At the heart of this strategy is the focus on the recruitment and development of young players and whilst the Club already has a strong pedigree of nurturing young talent, the limits of what can be achieved with the existing facilities has been reached.
A comprehensive study by the Club of more than 30 elite sports development centres around the world over the past two years, has provided the blueprint for the plans submitted today. The potential realisation of these plans, together with the Club’s Academy Development Plan - an 18 month research program into youth development best practice - would signify the single most important investment in the Club to date.
The building of such a facility and the roll out of the Academy Development Plan would not only provide the Club with a competitive edge in terms of recruitment of players of all ages, but would also more than meet the requirements for a grade 1 Academy as set out by the Premier League's new Elite Player Performance Plan.
All aspects of the Club’s youth development, first team training and operations functions would be brought into the one location in the heart of East Manchester and would include:
- a home for up to 400 young players who will train and study alongside senior players, with a clear development pathway to the first team
- one half size and 11 full size youth development pitches
- one half size and 4 full size first team pitches
- on site sleeping accommodation and classroom facility for 40 young players to allow them to train and study in a safe and secure environment
- a carefully planned first team building with changing rooms, gym, refectory and injury and rehab centre
- A 7,000 capacity stadium for youth matches
- Staff offices and a dedicated media centre
- A bridge linking the site to the Etihad Stadium and the rest of the Etihad Campus
REGENERATION - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT
Subject to approval, the Club’s proposals would also build on the legacy of the Commonwealth Games in this priority area of the UK in terms of regeneration needs.
Around 160 construction jobs would be created during the project, 70% of them for local people. Permanent employment at a range of levels for up to 90 people is also likely with up to 80% of positions being made available for local residents. The Club is also committed to local sourcing of materials, equipment and services for the operation and construction of the proposed site.
The remediation of up to 80 acres of land alone would improve the local environment, which would be further enhanced by the planting several hundred new trees and almost a mile of yew and beech hedging around the perimeter of the site and all construction operations would be conducted under the highest possible environmental standards with low carbon, low water and low waste measures being employed to minimise impact on the environment and encourage local bio diversity.
Improved transport links - with the advent of two Metrolink tram stations due in 2012- together with the construction of a landmark pedestrian footbridge will bring further regenerative benefits to the area.
Manchester City Football Club’s strong commitment to its community began at its inception in 1880 and that commitment is still at the heart of the organisation. The award winning City in the Community scheme touches 200,000 lives a year, a figure which would rise significantly should the above proposals be endorsed.
The plans would enable the Club to widen its community reach, together with partners Etihad Airways, as it expands its programs around Football, Health and Activity, Community Cohesion and Skills and Enterprise.
The Club has already provided additional football facilities to be used by more than 10,000 local young people a year at the Football and Tennis Centre adjacent to the Etihad Campus and use of the proposed 7,000 capacity stadium and certain pitches on the site would increase that figure substantially.
Significantly, Manchester City Football Club has also dedicated up to 5.5 acres of the 80 acre site to further community use, which, led by Manchester City Council and reflecting local feedback, could include the building of an education facility and a Sports Institute.
Manchester City Football Club will also make a financial contribution towards proposed leisure facilities in the area which could include the creation of a swimming pool and potential future educational facilities.
Brian Marwood, Chief Football Operations Officer of Manchester City Football Club, said:
“We are delighted that so many people have taken part in our public consultation, visiting the exhibition and responding so positively to our proposals. The feedback we have received points to a wide recognition by both local residents and fans of the significant regenerative and economic benefits of these proposals for the East Manchester area , which should not be underestimated.
It is important to also make clear that the development and recruitment of youth talent is at the heart of our long term strategy of building a successful and sustainable football club for the future. The opportunity to build a world class facility supported by a well researched youth development plan would be a significant step in the realisation of that strategy.”
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The Etihad Stadium and Campus are at the heart of the regeneration of the wider East Manchester area and these plans will help accelerate that positive transformation.
"We welcome the principle of this proposed development which reflects not only the needs and priorities of the football club, but recognises and reflects the community's priorities too. It's another welcome demonstration of the club's commitment to the area and a boost for East Manchester and the city as a whole.
"This would not just be about creating another world-class sporting facility in the area, it will also create jobs and other opportunities for local residents. It's one of the earliest manifestations of how the partnership between Manchester City Football Club, the Council and New East Manchester will deliver significant community and economic benefits in the years ahead.
"It is also very significant that the club are setting aside land for community use. This will enable us to bring forward complementary proposals for additional community facilities which could include a new swimming pool and leisure hub.
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