Arsenal expansion go-ahead granted by council for London Colney grounds

The Gunners' training grounds in London Colney

The Gunners' training grounds in London Colney - Credit: Archant

Arsenal is to go cap-in-hand to its board for final approval before embarking upon a major expansion of its training grounds in London Colney’s Green Belt after gaining the go-ahead from councillors.

In line with officer recommendations, at a recent Hertsmere borough council planning committee the Gunners were given the green light to demolish an equipment store and build a two-storey extension at the club’s grounds in Bell Lane.

A club spokesman told the Herts Advertiser: “The plans will be presented to the Arsenal board for approval later this month. If the scheme goes ahead, it will transform our existing training facilities.”

The Gunners train at a 57-hectare site on the edge of the borough of Hertsmere.

Sport England, which supported the bid, told the council that the extension would allow additional first team facilities to be accommodated, “such as space for pilates, yoga and stretching”.

While 140 trees will have to be removed to allow for the relocation of the equipment store, 280 replacement trees will be planted instead to mitigate this loss.

The committee had been advised to approve the scheme as it had “very special circumstances” to warrant its acceptance for the Green Belt.

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These include the contribution Arsenal makes to sporting activities for young people in the local community, and to meet the needs of a professional football club.

The current buildings at the centre “fail to provide sufficient facilities for strength and conditioning and analytical research which are essential for teams competing at the top level of European football,” a council officer’s report said.