The erection of a covered full-size football pitch and the creation of an artificial full-size pitch as part of an extended football academy was approved by Bromley Council’s Development Control Committee on 18 March.
Crystal Palace Football Club’s planning application also included plans for six training pitches of various sizes as well as a full size show pitch with spectator seating in Beckenham. The application proposes that the public will also be able to use the facilities. The council’s Development Control Committee were persuaded that while the proposed indoor pitch is inappropriate development on the Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) in Copers Cope Road, there are very special circumstances to outweigh the harm which would be caused. This includes the benefit to Crystal Palace Football Club and the community use.
Councillor Alexa Michael, Development Control Committee Chairman, said: “This site has been used for sport for over a hundred years and securing the long term future of the site and keeping its sporting use is very welcome news. It will also mean that Crystal Palace Football Club will continue to be intrinsically rooted in our Borough, sharing its roots with Crystal Palace, which is also in our Borough. In addition to the commitment that the facilities will be used by the community, this will be a place where young people will receive football related coaching and a variety of life skills.”
There were concerns raised by local residents about the size and height of the indoor pitch and the impact on Metropolitan Open Land, with the 19 metre maximum height to the apex of the curved roof required for technical engineering reasons.
The academy facilities will be made available to the local community in partnership with the Palace for Life Foundation, with the Foundation delivering programmes for more than 14,000 local children and young adults across south London. The increased access to the new Academy facility will enable this they can extend their reach in Bromley, especially for disability football, girls’ football, health and wellbeing programmes and employability workshops.
The approval decision is subject to the completion of a legal agreement and a section 106 agreement. It is also subject to approval by the Mayor of London.