Crystal Palace FC’s massive academy plans in Beckenham approved
PUBLISHED: 13:29 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:29 31 March 2020
Crystal Palace Football Club’s plans for a new and expanded football academy capable of catering for hundreds of budding young athletes have been approved.
Bromley’s development control board has authorised the Premier League club’s plans to radically develop the site at Copers Cope Road, Beckenham, on a plot of land that currently includes Gambados indoor playground.
The vast plans will see the construction of a full-size covered pitch; a full-size 3G pitch; a full-size “show” pitch with seating for up to 500 spectators; and six grass training pitches.
According to the club, new educational facilities will also be built, with up to five classrooms, lecture rooms and meeting spaces.
Talking to members of the committee, Crystal Palace Football Club chairman Steve Parish said the creation of the new category one academy would keep up to 220 “young men active off the streets”.
“Most of these kids won’t make it to pro footballers, but we aim to give them the best possible life experience,” Mr Parish said, emphasising the role the club would play in educating academy members.
Mr Parish added the current site was “ramshackle and run down”, with “terrible” boundaries and “awful security”.
“I genuinely believe it’ll be a vast improved site,” he said.
“All in all it will be a wonderful beautifully looked after park, forever really.”
According to council documents, more than 200 letters objecting to the proposal were received.
However, because a significant number of objections relating to the loss of Gambado’s Play Centre did not contain an address of the sender they couldn’t be logged by the authority.
The council also received three petitions with more than 442 signatures from patrons of Gambado’s Play Centre who opposed the loss of the facility.
On the flip side, nearly 550 letters of support were received for Crystal Palace’s proposal.
A common concern for residents was the height of the indoor football field ceiling, which peaks at 19 metres, and prompted Cllr William Huntington-Thresher to ask about it.
“The reason it’s that high is, fundamentally, we don’t want balls hitting the roof,” Mr Parish said.
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