Wasps apply for planning permission for new Training base
Wasps submit plans for £7m training centre at home of Coventry City Academy
Wasps have formally submitted plans to build a £7million training facility at the existing home of Coventry City FC’s Academy.
The planning application to Coventry City Council is the first public confirmation of the move to build a training base at the Alan Higgs Centre, in Allard Way,
Wasps say the new facility will sit next to the existing building and will include an indoor kicking area, three outdoor training pitches, a state-of-the-art gym and a video analysis suite as well as a hydrotherapy and physiotherapy areas.
What the plans will mean for the future of Coventry City’s Academy is unclear - but it would seem to put its future at the venue in doubt as initial drawings show the planned kicking area will be on the ‘match’ pitch currently used by the Sky Blues’ youngsters. However, the plans will still leave other pitches that could be brought up to the required standard.
Separately from Wasps’ plans, talks are ongoing to build an Olympic-sized swimming pool on the site which is likely to replace the existing indoor pitch at the Alan Higgs Centre currently used by the CCFC Academy. That is crucial to the Academy as it allows year-round training - a requirement of retaining its current Category Two status.
Despite Wasps lodging a planning application for this site, the rugby club insists it is keeping all options open as it looks to establish a permanent training base in the city.
It is understood the club had looked at about 20 sites in the West Midlands before progressing the plans for the Alan Higgs Centre, which was built for CCFC in 2004.
David Armstrong, Wasps chief executive, said: “We can confirm we have lodged a planning application to build on the site next to the Alan Higgs Centre.
“This is the first stage in a long process and we will continue to pursue options at other sites until we know whether our planning application has been successful.
“However, we are very hopeful of this site becoming our permanent base and are excited by the opportunity the location would afford us, as well as members of the community who would be able to use the indoor barn at specific times when not in use by Wasps.
“We have also read with interest in the media about a potential Olympic 50-metre swimming pool being constructed at the Alan Higgs Centre.
“While separate to Wasps’ potential training base, it would be fantastic if that too were to come to fruition. It would be of huge benefit for people in the local area and hopefully the training base Wasps have planned will also generate excitement about the world-class sporting facilities Coventry will have to offer.”
Artist's impression of planned new Wasps Training centre at the Alan Higgs Centre
The Aviva Premiership side have already confirmed Broadstreet RFC, in Binley Woods, as their interim training base next season when Wasps’ senior squad and coaching staff will relocate to the West Midlands.
Paul Breed, chief executive of Coventry Sports Foundation which runs the Alan Higgs Centre, said: “We are delighted to be the leading potential site for Wasps’ new training base and will work with them in any way we can to help make this happen.
“The Alan Higgs Centre plays a major role in community sports and leisure in South East Coventry, and the creation of a new complex for Wasps would add greatly to the site as well as providing the club with a permanent training base in the city.”
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