Major plans have been submitted which could see Peterborough United FC’s academy status upgraded.
Proposals for Nene Park Academy submitted to Peterborough City Council includes the provision of a covered 3G pitch and additional changing and educational facilities.
The application follows approval for English Football League (EFL) Academy Category 2 status – the second highest available for academies.
Developments come as Peterborough United mount a challenge for promotion from League One to the Championship this season.
Despite narrowly missing out on the play-offs last term, Posh are in the hunt again this year.
Darren Ferguson’s side sit fifth in the table, with 43 points from 24 games.
Upgrading facilities to the EFL’s Academy Category 2 would assist with the club’s ambitions for the future, and could see more local players feature for the first team in the future.
The club has shared training facilities at Nene Park Academy for 15 years, and recently agreed a 25-year lease with Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, who run the secondary school at the site.
Nene Park Academy’s relationship with Peterborough United has been fruitful.
Several academy graduates educated at the school have gone on to play first team football – including current squad members Ricky Jade-Jones and Flynn Clarke.
Robin Grover, Principal at Nene Park Academy, said: “Both Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust and Nene Park Academy unreservedly support these plans for a new pitch and associated first-class facilities within the academy grounds, to support Peterborough United’s strong ambition to gain Category 2 status.
“We are proud to enjoy a very solid relationship with the football club with hundreds of our pupils and children from across Peterborough able to benefit from the existing facilities and football training activities.
“For Nene Park Academy, the proposed covered new pitch will not only allow further capacity in our core PE lessons, but also our GCSE, A-Level and BTEC Sports students will benefit from decreased threat from any inclement weather, which would potentially affect practical activities.”
Kieran Scarff, Academy Manager for Peterborough United Football Club, said: “The ongoing success of the existing training academy at the Nene Park Academy site has fostered the ambition to achieve full EFL Academy Category 2 status which would be a tremendous boost for Peterborough United Football Club.
“In order to achieve this we will require additional facilities not yet in existence at the Academy and this planning application with the indoor dome, that is required at Category 2 level, will have a huge impact, not just on the players within the Academy, but also the wider Peterborough community.”
In plans developed in close consultation with Peterborough City Council, the pitch would be the minimum size of 60 yards by 40 yards with a 4-metre run off area.
The total size of a double layer skin air dome would be 63 metres by 45 metres with a height of 11 metres at the highest point.
This dome would be constructed so there would be no light spillage from the facility.
The current lakeside building would be demolished to extend the existing car park facilities.
Jason Neale, co-owner of Peterborough United Football Club, added: “We are delighted to take this next step in our aspirations to become a Category 2 academy.
“The enhanced facilities will be of benefit to Peterborough United Football Club, Nene Park Academy and the wider community through providing access to much needed indoor playing space and, importantly, it’s environmentally designed to ensure it’s a visual addition to the area”.
The benefits to the wider community listed within the proposal include walking football clubs for adults of all ages, a programme to increase the participation of women in football, as well as increasing the PAN disability provision at the facility.