COUNCIL chiefs have given the initial nod to plans for a new Leeds United training ground to be developed at a former school site.
The decision today by Leeds City Council’s executive board kickstarts a period of official talks between both parties regarding the possibility of the club’s official training facilities for senior and academy players being relocated to the former Matthew Murray High School site in south Leeds.
Also supported by the executive board was a plan to start further investigations into the creation of a new ‘Community Sports Village’ at Elland Road’s Fullerton Park site.
If the plans move forward, both facilities would, subject to planning permission, open by 2020.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “I am pleased that the executive board has agreed that the council and Leeds United can begin talks around a potential new club training ground being developed on the old Matthew Murray High School site in south Leeds.
“We know from when the club was previously in the Premier League the impact that a successful and thriving Leeds United can have not just in spreading the Leeds brand around the world, but also in boosting the local economy.
“Just as important is the power that the club has in the city through its grassroots community and engagement work to enthuse, inspire and make a difference, especially to the lives of young people.
“The development of a Community Sports Village at the Fullerton Park site is a sign of a renewed ambition at the club to play a significant role in the life of the city off the pitch as well as on it – and that’s what’s been missing for far too long.
“These moves also tie in with our ambitions to regenerate Beeston and Holbeck, where the council has built high-quality council homes next to Holbeck Moor and brought empty homes back into use on Beeston Hill.
“This sits aside bringing activity and purpose seven days a week to the wasteland around the stadium through the ice rink, the park and ride and the police headquarters.”
Today’s decision means that one-to-one formal talks will now start with Leeds United.