Colchester: U’s new bid to extend training hours

Marcus Bean training with Colchester United teammates at the Tiptree training complex

Marcus Bean training with Colchester United teammates at the Tiptree training complex - Credit: Archant

Plans to allow the Colchester United squad to return to the club’s training complex to begin pre-season preparations two weeks early look set to be approved.

The club needs its players to get back in training ahead of schedule as this year’s League One season starts two weeks early.

But the U’s face strict constraints on the hours that players can use the base at Florence Park in Grange Road, Tiptree.

The club has previously come up against strong local opposition to proposals to extend training hours. After a lengthy process, the club was given permission to alter its training hours in January and now it is seeking permission from Colchester Borough Council to change the restrictions and begin pre-season preparations a fortnight ahead of schedule.

The 2013/14 season starts on August 3 to allow for extra space in the football calendar to mark the 150th anniversary of the FA and the 125th anniversary of the Football League and the U’s want to dovetail their training accordingly. The club wants to use the last two weeks of June for the start of its pre-season work, which goes against current restrictions.

If the application is approved, training would take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between the standard 9.30am-3.30pm hours and no use Wednesdays, Saturdays or Sundays.

However, some householders have written to the council to say the club should have announced the proposed changes earlier and that more screening should be put in place to reduce the amount of noise coming out of the complex.

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Following recent complaints about noise from community games, the club has also offered as part of the same application to bring the operating hours of its community pitch more in line with its professional pitch.

In a report to the council’s planning committee, which meets on Thursday to discuss the application, officers recommended the proposals be approved.

They said: “The application before members now is to slightly amend that approval to respond to the altered and unique circumstances of the 2013/14 season, and to allow the professional football club to prepare for the season from mid-June this year on a one-off basis.

“Whilst the benefits from this application to the local residents are small, they do at least represent some form of improvement. It is necessary to allow the professional club to operate and prepare for the league season and (it) would be unreasonable to decline this request.

“The proposal represents some improvements for local residents whilst allowing Colchester United to operate in a manner necessary to its function as a Football League club. It is therefore seen as a positive for all concerned.”

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