Burnley Football Club is delighted to announce that the Planning Committee of Burnley Borough Council have approved plans to transform the Gawthorpe training complex.
The club had sought permission to raise the standard of the facility to meet the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) Category 1 and 2 standard of infrastructure.
At Gawthorpe, the club now plans to develop a 73,000 m2 area across the River Calder from the existing facility and build a dedicated new training centre to bring first class facilities for the first team, development squad and youth team players under one roof for the first time.
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The build will also include an indoor all-weather area with a small spectator gallery, to meet the requirements of EPPP.
Outside, plans include the development of three full-sized training pitches, each measuring 68m x 105m. For youth team players, in addition to the current match pitch and four mini-pitches, we will add further two three-quarter size pitches.
A new car park built north of the river, accessed via a refurbished bridge over the River Calder, will ease the pressure on the National Trust Car park close to Gawthorpe Hall, especially at peak times.
On the south side of the river, the existing ‘top pitch’ is to be floodlit.
Burnley Football Club would like to thank the Council for approving these plans, and assure the various conservation and environmental groups that we remain extremely sensitive and committed to their concerns.
The planning application has been a long and difficult one, dating back to 2014, with many conditions needed to meet the concerns of local residents, environmental groups and the adjacent National Trust-owned, Grade 1 listed Gawthorpe Hall.
Over half of the proposed site will be enhanced to meet ecological needs. Many trees and hedgerows will be added to enhance the site as a whole and encourage local wildlife, and the club also has general agreement to sponsor some further environmental work off-site to provide new wetlands.
However, as these new plans fall within the green belt, the club is still reliant on Government approval, and the plans could be ‘called in’ by the Government to be considered further by the Secretary of State.
In addition, due to the development’s location next to Gawthorpe Hall, the deeds have a covenant placed on them with permission required from the National Trust to build certain parts of the project. Discussions are currently ongoing with the National Trust.
Subject to final approval, work on the Gawthorpe improvements is expected to start later this year.
The club would like to thank all the consultants who have been involved in helping the club to reach this stage, including Planning Consultants Zerum Consult Ltd and, in particular, Ms. Nikki Sills. The club would also like to place on record its thanks to Director Clive Holt and our Stadium and Operations Manager Doug Metcalfe.
Mr Holt said: “We have been trying to reach this day over a number of years to bring our facilities up to the latest standard.
“This has been greatly helped by last season in the Premier League and the rewards that brings.
“We now look forward to entering a new era for Burnley Football Club and taking this club forward for generations to come.”
Mr Metcalfe added: “The process to get to this point has been long and arduous, but we are delighted that a positive outcome has been achieved for the club.
“We have never lost focus on the importance of these facilities and the hugely positive effect it will undoubtedly have in the development of the club and its vision.
“Although we have carried out some redevelopment work to our existing facility in recent years, they were still a long way short of what we require.
“The new environment will allow us to provide the facilities necessary to continually develop the club.”