MK Dons agree deal for training facility at National Bowl

Sep 19, 2019

Pictured: (front) MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman and council leader Pete Marland. (back) Charles Macdonald, chief executive of Milton Keynes Development Partnership and John Cove, chair of MK Dons Sport & Education Trust.

AGREEMENT has been reached for Milton Keynes Dons FC to build a state-of-the-art training facility at the National Bowl.

The club has struck a deal with Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes Development Partnership, which manages the council’s land assets. It expects to submit a planning application for the site early next year.

The plans include 12 football pitches, fitness and medical facilities, classrooms and administration offices. The site will be used all year round by the club and the wider community and the plans also ensure that the MK Bowl will remain a hub for cycling and as a music venue for artists from around the world.

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 is not something that we will be able to achieve overnight.”

Milton Keynes Council leader Pete Marland said: “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.”

The announcement comes in the National Bowl’s 40th anniversary year and as Milton Keynes prepares to become a European City of Sport for 2020.

MKDP chief executive Charles Macdonald said: “I am delighted we have 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 the council to help deliver a scheme that fulfils the council’s policy ambitions and ensures it remains a space that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

Mr Winkelman said: “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.”

Cllr 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.”

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