A DECISION will be made next week whether Huddersfield Town can make a vital upgrade to training facilities.
The club has asked Kirklees Council for planning permission to improve the Canalside Sports Complex on Leeds Road.
The proposed upgrade includes laying a third generation (3G) training pitch. The artificial surface looks like grass but gives a firmer grip, allowing for better ball control and reducing the chances of injury.
Agent Duncan Gordon, of Box Architects, explained that the upgrade had to be carried out if Town’s youth system was to keep its coveted academy status.
In a statement to Kirklees Council he said: “The Football Association is implementing new legislation in August 2012 with more stringent requirements that will need to be met by clubs if they are to maintain their academy status.
“The main requirements concerning the client are the need for a 3G pitch, and dedicated classroom teaching facilities.
“Huddersfield Town are one of only a few clubs that have attained the status as an academy and must submit this application with an aim to retain their academy status.”
The proposed changes at the five-hectare site include:
Formation of a 3G football pitch
Construction of groundsman’s building, including a large vehicle turning circle and hard-standing area
Building of two portable classrooms with associated timber decking
Relocation of bowling and croquet lawns and building new pavilion
Increase in parking spaces from 77 to 88
Removal of some perimeter trees and erection of three-metre high galvanised mesh security fence around the side of the 3G pitch and bowling green
Erection of 1.1m high spectator railings
Extension of extent of playing pitch near site entrance
Erection of 17-metre high floodlight columns to ground’s perimeter and around 3G pitch
But the Environment Agency has objected to the plan after receiving a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) from the applicant.
The agency wrote: “The FRA submitted with this application does not comply with the requirements set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and technical guidance.
“The submitted FRA does not therefore, provide a suitable basis for assessment to be made of the flood risks arising from the proposed development.
“An assessment of the current proposed site levels is required within the FRA produced by Beam Consulting in order to demonstrate the proposed new levels will not result in increased flood risk.’’
But Kirklees officers believe any flood risk problems can be addressed “subject to the submission of revised details”.
The council’s Huddersfield Planning Sub-committee will rule on the proposal at Huddersfield Town Hall at 1pm on Thursday.