Council approves new Fullerton Park pitches next to Leeds United's Elland Road
Young footballers will train and compete at a new suite of pitches in view of Leeds United's Elland Road after plans have been approved.
The Parklife community sports hub at Fullerton Park, opposite the Whites' stadium, is planned to include artificial grass football pitches including one covered by an air dome.
Also included are plans for changing rooms, a cafe, meeting rooms, a gym, GP surgery and pharmacy for use by Beeston and Holbeck residents.
There would also be coach parking for use by LUFC as well as a television compound.
It comes as LUFC faces a series of crunch games in its effort to win promotion to top-flight football for the first time in 16 years.
Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear said: “We are pleased the project at Fullerton Park has been granted planning permission.
“The development in partnership with Leeds City Council and the Football Foundation will see a world-class community sports hub being delivered for the people of Beeston, Holbeck and Cottingley.
“This will be the first vital step in bringing the Academy back to the heart of Leeds, creating a talent development pathway for inner-city youth, building the foundations for a better Leeds United in the long term.”
Coun James Lewis, deputy leader and Leeds City Council executive board member for resources, said: “We are pleased that this planning application has now been approved.
"The Parklife initiative which we have developed with the Football Foundation and Leeds United provides us with the wonderful opportunity to introduce a range of fantastic and modern facilities at Fullerton Park, which can be used by communities in and around south Leeds.
"Just some of the facilities which are proposed include four 3G artificial grass pitches, a community café with meeting rooms, fitness gym and studio and changing room which is very exciting,
“We look forward to working closely with local communities and both Leeds United and the Football Foundation on the next stage of the project.”
The Fullerton Park scheme is one of four being planned in Leeds, along with others at Bodington Playing Fields in the Weetwood ward, Green Park (Thorpe Park) in the Temple Newsam ward and Woodhall Playing Fields in the Calverley and Farsley ward.
Planning papers show that a city-wide consultation process identified FA affiliated ‘partner’ clubs and leagues that will use the Parklife Hubs for training and match play.
In total, 25 community football clubs have been selected by The Football Foundation, West Riding County FA and Leeds City Council as Partner Clubs to the four hubs – drawing from the immediate communities surrounding each facility.
As of March these clubs represented 475 affiliated teams from the under-five to under-23 age groups, as well as open age adults.
The Parklife model requires that once built, the hubs are leased to a national not for profit football trust for a period of 25 years. The charity, established by the Parklife programme funders – The FA, Premier League and Department for Culture Media and Sport (via Sport England) - will appoint a professional operator to manage and maintain the various hubs.
Previous reports suggested the site could be completed by the start of the 2021 football season.