- Preparation of the site that will house Leicester City’s new training ground has begun
- McLaren Construction appointed principal contractor
- New facility in Charnwood will rival the best facilities in Europe
Plans for the development of the former Park Hill Golf and Fishing Centre at Charnwood were revealed by the Club in February 2018, in what Vice Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha described as ‘a once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to make a sizeable, meaningful investment in the Club’s long-term future.
And following the appointment of McLaren Construction as the project’s principal contractor, initial preparations and earthworks to transform the 185-acre site are now firmly under way.
The project is scheduled for completion in June 2020.
Leicester City Chief Executive, Susan Whelan, said: “The new training ground will elevate the Club and our training facilities to another level for generations to come, so it’s fantastic to have our contractors from McLaren on-site, commencing work and turning our vision into reality.
“Such a big investment is both a fantastic opportunity and a big responsibility for everyone involved in the project. We’re delighted to be shaping a big part of the Club’s future together and determined to make it something the region can be exceptionally proud of.”
Kevin Taylor, Chairman of McLaren Group, said: “We are excited to work on this project. It’s a wonderful opportunity to partner with Leicester City to create a facility that will help to shape the next generation of top sportsmen and women – for the club and for the sport. We bring our considerable experience in sports and leisure facilities to the project, as well as our reputation for quality and timely delivery.”
The new training centre will be among the most modern football facilities in Europe, including:
- Eleven full-size pitches including a 499-seater mini-venue show pitch
- Eight smaller pitches, five training grids and two goalkeeping areas
- Full-size artificial indoor pitch
- Thirty five bedrooms of on-site accommodation
- Rehabilitation facilities and hydrotherapy pool
- Training centre building including dining areas, administration offices and media centre
- Sports turf academy for the development of the next generation of grounds staff
Many of the early undertakings on-site have focused on the ecological elements of the project, which is expected to significantly increase biodiversity in an area already blessed with natural beauty.
Over 11 hectares of retained woodland will be bolstered by the planting of 38,000 new trees. These will supplement the 9,000 trees removed or replanted for earthwork enablement, which in turn has created 900 tonnes of wood chips that will be used as biomass fuel. The development will also see the retention of 4.4 hectares of new planting and landscaping and 14.6 hectares of wildflower grassland.
Protected newts inhabiting areas of the site earmarked for development were collected and rehomed in nearby ponds before Christmas and the remainder will be moved when they emerge from hibernation in the spring. From the ponds on site, 400 fish have been netted and moved to a new home elsewhere on site.
Preparation of the site will continue over the course of the next month before foundations for the main buildings are set. The development is expected to accelerate quickly, with the aim of having the new facility open and operational ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season.
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