EXCLUSIVE - MK Dons one step closer to new training ground after contracts for Milton Keynes Bowl exchanged

    Image Credit: Milton Keynes Dons Football Club

    Milton Keynes Dons executive director Andy Cullen has revealed that the club is one step closer to developing its own training ground after contracts were exchanged last month.

    It was reported back in September that progress had been made towards the Dons being able to use the National Bowl as the location as their new, purpose-built training facility.

    Now, it appears as if that will become a reality sooner rather than later after Mr Cullen revealed to MKFM that the club exchanged contracts and took ownership of the site at the turn of the year.

    And music fans need not fear as part of the deal will allow iconic live music events at the bowl to continue.

    Mr Cullen explained: "The good news is that we took ownership of the bowl on the 1st of January, so the contracts were all exchanged on the site."

    "We haven't made a big deal of that because the next big thing that will happen is when we get all the planning permissions, which now have to go into the site for everything that we want to do and what we want to achieve."

    "That's occupied a huge amount of time for the chairman over the last twelve months in terms of working with the architects Populous, who were heavily involved with the stadium, looking at the different layouts and what we want there, not just with pitches but with buildings on the site that we need to do."

    He continued: "Working with partners on the site as well, because obviously we've got stakeholders in there as well so we're trying to build something within the site that works for everybody."

    "It gives us the opportunity to make it sustainable, as we've done with the stadium, looking at different ways that we can operate at the training ground as well."

    "The next big things that people will see will be the plans start to go in and some of those plans will become public and people will start to get a feel for what we're trying to achieve."

    He added: "At the moment, in the pandemic, planning takes a little bit longer than it would do in normal times so that process could take the next four to six months, maybe even a bit longer, hopefully not so long but that's slightly out of our hands."

    "Once we can get those consents and start work, certainly on trying to get the first-team established at the Bowl and that would be a massive leap forward for this football club."

    "We're sort of making do at the moment. Woughton is a clay surface, and like every clay surface in the country with the amount of rain that we've had, and the lack of renovation that we would normally do, because of the pandemic, has put stress on those facilities."

    "We're using 4G at the moment, where we can, but we want to be in our own area, we want to have a consistent, solid surface to train on and we just can't wait for that to happen."

    He concluded: "We're one step closer, we've now got a site that we own, a site that we can develop subject to planning permission and once we can get there, we can get the first-team established and, down the line, bring in the academy as well."

    Andy Cullen's full interview with MKFM can be heard from 9pm tonight.

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