Approval for Chelsea Football Club's greenbelt development
Chelsea Football Club’s plans for an indoor pitch and sports research centre have been approved by Elmbridge Council.
The plans, approved at a full planning meeting on Tuesday, February 12, will now have go to the Secretary of State, because the development is on greenbelt land.
The proposal is for a 100m by 60m building, which would be a maximum of 10.9m high, and it would be used for indoor training and high performance sports research.
Mayor of Elmbridge Councillor Janet Turner said: “I don’t see why they need more buildings. To justify a development on the greenbelt has to be exceptional. They already have a vast amount of pitches there and have indoor areas for dealing with sports injuries.
“I do sometimes question what we do. This is greenbelt land and it worries me. We should be very careful what we put on greenbelt.”
Councillor Dorothy Mitchell said: “I think we have to remember once the greenbelt has been built on, we cannot get it back again.”
The new indoor pitch would cover 4,800sq m while the sports research centre would be 1,985sq m, following the removal of an existing temporary facility.
The High Performance Sports Research Centre will be a two-storey facility aimed at treating and rehabilitating elite athletes from a range of sports, and would contain changing rooms, treatment and physiotherapy rooms, laboratory and relaxation and catering areas.
The facility will be separate from, but linked to, the indoor pitch.
The existing car park would be used to accommodate the building, resulting in the loss of 89 of the 235 parking spaces at the site.
All but 10 of these spaces would be replaced on a reinforced grass area that could be used for training when not needed. The club currently erect a dome structure over an all weather pitch to allow training in colder weather conditions through winter.
It is this facility that the development seeks to replace, to comply with the requirements for top level academies.
While many councillors expressed their concerns about permitting the application, others were supportive of the plans.
Councillor Tony Popham said: “They are an international brand and I think we should support them the best we can.”
Councillor Barry Cheyne said: “This application should be passed and let the Secretary of State make the decision.”
Councillors approved to permit the application, with 11 voting in favour and eight against, and it will now go forward to the Secretary of State.