Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club has taken over land controversially earmarked for 600 homes in Lancing.
The club’s executive director Martin Perry confirmed to the Herald last night (Monday, July 11) that it now owned New Monks Farm.
The land is included in the emerging Adur local plan, despite concerns from residents over flood risk.
Mr Perry was at Adur District Council’s planning committee meeting last night, with the club’s application for an earth bund between its elite football performance centre, in Mash Barn Lane, and New Monks Farm, approved.
The bund will provide screening to the northern boundary of the ground, as a requirement of the training facility’s planning permission in 2013.
At the same meeting, councillors discussed the first year of the facility’s community pitch, which was used by more than 61,000 players.
The club was required to provide use of the pitch for community use for a minimum of 86 hours per week as a requirement of planning permission.
In a statement released today, Mr Perry said: “The use of the community pitch has been a resounding success and we are grateful to the councillors for acknowledging just how much has been achieved in its first year of operation.”
The club was required to provide 1,820 hours of free use over the course of the year as part of a contractual agreement.
It exceeded the target, with 2,028 hours of free use achieved.
Mr Perry said the club has prioritised the pitch for younger players, following issues with adult group, including the use of bad language.
A partnership has been developed with the Sussex County Football Association, with numerous adult clubs and teams using the Culver Road facility instead.
Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin welcomed the oversubscription of the community pitch, as well as the club’s decision to purchase New Monks Farm.
He said: “I am pleased to see Brighton and Hove Albion’s success in their first year of operating the community pitch at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre. The club is clearly delivering on its promises made when permission was granted for the new training ground.
“This, coupled with the huge economic benefit that has arisen from the training ground - which is now rated one of the best in the country - makes it a win-win situation for both the local community and the club.
“Along with many of my colleagues, we’re also delighted to see that the club is now the owner of New Monks Farm.”
According to Companies House records, New Monks Farm Development Limited’s registered address was changed to Albion’s AMEX stadium on April 7.
A number of new directors, including Mr Perry, were appointed shortly beforehand.