Aston Villa submit plans for 'Inner City Academy'

ASTON VILLA have submitted plans for a new ‘Inner City Academy’ in Birmingham, which will be targeted at youngsters living close to their Villa Park stadium.

The proposal has been put forward to Birmingham City Council and includes a full-size indoor 3G pitch, an outdoor floodlit 3G pitch, plus a purpose built two-storey building that will house six changing rooms, a lounge for players and parents, and an office.

With Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground about 13 miles away from Villa Park, the idea is for the facility to cater for youngsters in the nearby catchment areas of Aston, Witton, Perry Barr, Kingstanding, Erdington, Handsworth and Nechells. The site is just 500 yards from Villa Park and is currently used as a car park for match-day staff.

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."

This summer Villa completed a new £14m Academy base at Bodymoor Heath following a two-year build. Rugby-based practice HB Architects was behind the revamp and will also design the new Inner City Academy.

The firm also created the indoor training pitch at Wolves, which is inside a huge dome, and there are plans for a similar building at Villa’s new Inner City Academy.

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