New ‘world class’ Leeds United training ground could be built on former school site

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Early plans for Leeds United to build a “world class” training facility on the site of a former inner-city school are set to go before council chiefs next month.

Approval is being sought for the local authority to sell its former Matthew Murray School site to Leeds United to develop a new training facility for the club.

Leeds United want to create a new "world class" training facility in Holbeck.

Leeds United want to create a new "world class" training facility in Holbeck.

The club’s chief executive has said talks with the council have been “positive”, and that such a facility would bring training “back to the heart of the city”.

Angus Kinnear added that it would help the club spot talent and create a “development pathway” for young people in the city.

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Meanwhile, the council’s deputy leader has claimed the move would help the local economy.

Mr Kinnear said: “Our discussions with Leeds City Council regarding the development of a world class training facility around Elland Road have continued to move forward positively.

“We remain committed to bringing a state of the art, community focused training facility back to the heart of the city, helping us to create a talent development pathway for inner city youth.

“Collaboration with the local community is paramount to our plans and we will be stepping up our consultation with residents, schools and business owners in Beeston and Holbeck in the coming weeks.”

The forthcoming decision published by Leeds City Council this evening described the issue as: “Approval to dispose of council land comprising site of former Matthew Murray school, at Brown Lane East as a new training facility for Leeds United.”

It added: “Briefings have taken place with the executive and ward members and public consultation on the scheme detail will be undertaken when the planning application is submitted.”

The club currently trains at a facility at Thorp Arch, which was opened in 1994 during the reign of manager Howard Wilkinson.

Coun James Lewis, deputy leader and Leeds City Council executive board member for resources, said: “Through selling this land to Leeds United it will allow them to invest in premier league grade training facilities back in the heart of the city and also form part of wider developments around Elland Road which include Fullerton Park.

"The area will provide new facilities for the local community whilst also boosting the area’s economy.

“Consultation with local people around the site will take place when detailed plans are brought forward in the future.”

Matthew Murray High School, in Brown Lane, Holbeck, closed in 2006.

A decision on whether to hand over the land is set to take place at a meeting of the council’s executive board on Wednesday, September 18.