Aston Villa have submitted a proposal to build an 'Inner City Academy' within Birmingham and just 500 yards away from their infamous home stadium, Villa Park.
The plans put forward by the Premier League side to Birmingham City Council could see the academy feature a full-size indoor 3G pitch, an outdoor and floodlit 3G pitch, six changing rooms, an office, a parents and player lounge and storage.
The site, which is currently being used as a staff car park, is in the heart of the city and it is hoped that the academy facility will be of benefit to young, aspiring, local talent in the areas of Aston, Witton, Perry Barr, Kingstanding, Erdington, Handsworth and Nechells.
The new facility will mirror the academy base at Bodymoor Heath that was completed this summer following a two-year building process, reportedly costing £14 million.
The planning application reads: "The new youth academy is a facility that will be available by invitation to young players in the city who are selected as part of the club’s Academy programme.
“By providing the facility in the shadow of the main stadium, and also in an urban location that is easily accessible on foot, cycle and by public transport, there is a greater opportunity for those young people who may not have access or the support to travel the 12km to the Bodymoor Heath training ground facility.
"The Witton Road Academy proposals are modest and focus on providing appropriate football training facilities on single indoor and outdoor pitches.
“A purpose built two-storey building will provide the required changing facilities, a lounge for players and parents to use that overlooks the indoor pitch and ancillary office space.
“The football club has advised that they would expect a maximum of 70 players to visit the site on a weekday evening, with circa 20 staff/parents also in attendance at the same time.
"Outside of the Academy operational times the football club envisage the facility to be used for their local community programme on a regular basis during the working day. This would include some of the club’s Foundation work."
The plans put forward by Villa's owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, will undergo a public consultation until January 7, 2021 with a final decision set to be made by February 22, 2021.
Author: Jake Wilkin