Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP) and Milton Keynes Council (MKC) have reached an agreement with Milton Keynes Dons that will allow the Football Club to develop a new state-of-the-art training facility at the MK Bowl.
MK Dons expect to make the planning application for the 49-acre site early in the new year, including plans that will see the Bowl used 365 days a year by the First Team, Academy and the Milton Keynes community.
As well as 12 football pitches, the community hub will include changing, fitness and medical facilities, classrooms, administration as well as food and beverage provisions.
Plans also ensure that the MK Bowl will be available as an enhanced hub for cycling and as a music venue for artists from around the world.
This news comes in the National Bowl’s 40th Anniversary Year and shortly after confirmation of Milton Keynes as a European City of Sport for 2020.
Charles Macdonald, Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Development Partnership, said: “I’m delighted we’ve found a solution that provides the Dons with a fantastic new training ground within Milton Keynes and also means MK Bowl can host a mix of sustainable uses for years to come.
“MKDP has worked closely with The Bowl’s key users and MKC to help deliver a scheme that fulfils the Council's policy ambitions and ensures it remains a space that can be enjoyed by everyone.”
Leader of Milton Keynes Council, Pete Marland, added: “The MK Bowl and MK Dons are two iconic symbols of Milton Keynes. Bringing them together for the right deal is a no-brainer.
“The Dons will be able to ensure the facilities they need to be a more sustainable club in the long-term and compete with the best, while the Bowl is brought back to life, not just for the club, but for other activities, sports and concerts too. I’m really looking forward to working with Pete and the team and see their plans in more detail.”
MK Dons Chairman, Pete Winkelman, said: “This is the biggest news for some years regarding the Football Club.
“The National Bowl is an iconic venue which has played host to some of the world’s biggest and best and we will do all we can to respect and nurture the site along with the support of the Milton Keynes Cycling Association.
“This very exciting development – one which compliments what we are doing at Stadium MK - demands a major investment and an innovative delivery mechanism. Like the stadium, this isn’t something that we will be able to achieve overnight.
“I am hugely grateful for the leadership shown by the Council and the due diligence of MKDP in finding a solution that can provide us with the place, the time and the opportunity to deliver something really special – something which we ultimately believe will enhance the Bowl and the reputation of Milton Keynes as well as provide the vital missing link for the Football Club.”