CHIGWELL: Questions raised over Spurs training ground move (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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CHIGWELL: Questions raised over Spurs training ground move
QUESTIONS have been raised over the future of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club's community work in the district as further details of its move out of Chigwell are revealed.
The club is set to close down its training ground and press centre at Spurs Lodge in Luxborough Lane and relocate to a new £45million facility in Enfield, north London, in 2012.
McLaren Construction has been named this week as the contractors for the complex, which will include 11 football pitches, a medical centre, a swimming pool and gym.
But as the move draws nearer it has prompted some fans to fear that the team will loosen its ties with Chigwell as a result.
The Guardian understands that the club is keen to continue working with schools in the area despite the move, although they will no longer be able to use the Chigwell facility when the team moves out.
But Chigwell Spurs fan Marie Witchell, 59, of Limes Avenue, said: “I am very sorry that Spurs are moving out - they have not been here in Chigwell very long.
"What will happen to Spurs in the community? Where will that leave us?”
Spurs Lodge was opened by former prime minister Tony Blair in September 1996 and has been used ever since for training the club's squad and youth team, as well as hosting regular news conferences held by manager Harry Redknapp.
Mr Redknapp said the move was essential for Tottenham's future.
He said: "This is a massive club and this new facility shows that we are continually looking to move forward and to compete at the highest level.”
Chairman Daniel Levy added: "The new training centre will be the best of its kind in Europe when it is built and will be important for the club attracting, training and retaining quality players."
The move has been controversial in Enfield, with residents fighting an ultimately unsuccessful campaign against the new ground, which is being built on Green Belt land.
No decision had been made on what will happen to the Chigwell site when the club leaves.
There are not expected to be any job losses resulting from the move.
The Guardian is awaiting a comment from Tottenham Hotspur.
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