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Future of BDP's plans for national football centre cast into doubt

The FA has suggested that the death knell has been sounded for a BDP-designed national football centre in Burton-on-Trent.

Reports suggest that BDP's designs, for a national training centre in the mould of France's successful Clairefontaine academy, have finally been binned by the Football Association.

The FA had a meeting on Friday to consider a number of new options for the site, and has now settled on one that includes a hotel.

BDP's original plans were chosen by competition in 2001. The practice had initially worked up proposals including a replica of the Wembley Stadium changing rooms.

The scheme would also have included a significant swathe of residential accommodation.

The FA insisted that planning permission had already been secured for a hotel on the site. It is confident that with the residency of attendees at coaching and refereeing courses throughout the year, it could provide the hotel with a 30 per cent occupancy rate.

Beyond stipulating that a hotel option had been decided upon, the FA declined from commenting further.

However, BDP denied reports that it had ceased to work on the project.

Tony McGuirk, chairman of the London office, said: 'The project has been set on a slower programme than we all expected. We look forward to the project pushing ahead.'

by Rob Sharp

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