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Saturday, March 2, 2024

A Bradford football club hopes to finally have its own ground in time for its 50th anniversary

A planning application for the creation of a new football facility on vacant land off Lower Lane has been submitted to Bradford Council.

Albion Sports is the only football club playing in the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East League that does not have its own home ground.

But new plans could change that, and see the club move onto an empty site and create a new home for the first team as well as a “vital training and development facility for the youth and junior teams.”

A planning application for the creation of a new football facility on vacant land off Lower Lane has been submitted to Bradford Council.

The club told the Telegraph & Argus that if the plan is approved – it hopes to be playing at the new site by the start of the 24/25 season to mark the club’s anniversary.

It comes after the club worked with the Council to find a new home for The Lions – who currently play at Horsfall Stadium as part of a ground share with Bradford (Park Avenue).

The club says the move would be a “milestone” in its history, adding it would be “brilliant to finally find a home” after years of sharing facilities with other teams.

The planning application is for a new changing pavilion on the site, along with a turnstile entrance, first aid room, new Portakabin toilet block, two new managers and subs shelters, two de-mountable portable stands, improvements to the existing, unused 11 a-side grass pitch on the site, a new nine a-side grass pitch, LED pitch flood lighting, five-metre high ball catch fencing, and new 58 space car park.

The changing pavilion will include a lounge, kitchen, storerooms, four changing rooms with showers and toilets, four official changing rooms, a disabled changing room, a disabled toilet and a baby change area.

The field is currently owned by Bradford Council and was set aside as a future sports facility for the neighbouring Bradford Forster Academy. But the application says the pitches have not been used since the school was built, and are currently classed as “redundant.”

Founded in 1974, Albion Sports Association Football Club began as a Sunday League club but made the switch to Saturday League in 2007.

A spokesman for the club said: “We have been working closely with the council for some time to identify a suitable home for the first team and junior set-up.

“Lower Lane was ideal and matched our requirements.

“Our first team currently play in the NCEL Premier Division and we are the only football club who do not have our own facility and home ground in the league, so this will be fantastic for the club and also our community.

“It is the club’s 50th Anniversary this year so we are doing everything we can to be playing in the ground by next season.

“Albion Sports originally started as a Sunday league football club but transitioned over to Saturdays and gained promotion into the Northern Counties East League in 2011. During that time we have been ground-sharing with other clubs.

“After 12 years of ground sharing and not having our own home ground, it will be brilliant if we can finally have a home.

“Everyone associated with the club is looking forward to the next milestone in the club’s history, it will make it that more special to have this on the club’s 50th year anniversary.”

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “This is a collaboration between the Council and Albion Sports AFC.

“Bradford Council is working with Albion to find a suitable site for the club to develop its new home ground. The site at Lower Lane has been identified as a suitable site for the work.

“2024 is the 50th anniversary of Albion Sports AFC and they’re hoping that moving into the new ground will coincide with the celebrations of this significant milestone, as well as the start of the 24/25 season.

“Not only will the Lower Lane ground be the new home of the Albion first team, it will also be a vital training and development facility for the youth and junior teams.”

A decision on the planning application is expected to be made later this month.

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