Chelsea have been looking to build a permanent indoor training structure on their Cobham grounds for quite a while, and today their application to do so has been approved. The land in which Chelsea were looking to build is classified as green belt, meaning that any permanent structure would need to be approved by the government.
After no complaints were raised from local residents, the proposal was passed along to Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government. The Elmbridge Borough Council received the following statement from Pickles in response to the proposal:
"The secretary of state has carefully considered the impact of your proposal, and the key policy issues of flooding, greenbelt, economic development, effect on the environment, etc which this case raises."
"In his opinion, the proposals do not involve a conflict with national policies on important matters. Nor does he consider that there is any other sufficient reason to call the application in for his own determination."
With building a permanent structure on the green belt land no longer an issue, Chelsea will now finish the last details of the planning. The facility they want to build will reportedly encompass 5,880 square meters, and will be used primarily to house an indoor training pitch. That pitch would put their facilities in full compliance with the highest standards of the EPPP, and should cement them as a level 1 academy going forward. They have been classified as a level 1 academy despite the use of a "temporary" training bubble, but a permanent structure would ensure that the bubble never becomes an issue.
For those curious about the potential impact this could have on FFP, there is none. Facility upgrades like this are excluded from FFP calculations, so anything that the club spends on this project will not hurt their chances of complying with the rule.