A NEW indoor football complex laid with the same turf as Manchester United’s training academy is to be created under multi-million-pound plans in Silverknowes.
The ambitious project will see six indoor five-a-side pitches housed within a clear-roofed structure spanning nearly 5000 square metres in Marine Drive.
Four full-size pitches will be laid outdoors while new changing rooms will be also built, if planners give the go-ahead.
The designs form a joint bid by Edinburgh Telford College, which leases the land from the council, and bosses at the popular World of Football centre at the Corn Exchange.
The DeMarco family, which owns World of Football and whose first business was launched in Granton 70 years ago, said the new complex would be something of a homecoming.
Speaking about the project, Paul DeMarco, managing director of World of Football, said the indoor pitches would be similar to those at the Corn Exchange but played under a translucent fabric roof to allow for natural lighting for daytime games.
“We have designed something that is pretty unique,” said Mr DeMarco. “With this project we are getting to build something from scratch whereas the Corn Exchange had an existing listed building.
“Also, in terms of the latest technology we are using the same turf used by Manchester United at their Carrington training academy.
“We are a family business and started out in Granton with the Jubilee Cafe, so this is a bit like coming home for us.”
Telford College currently leases the site from Edinburgh City Council but it is expected to be sublet to World of Football, which will offer free use of the complex to Telford students.
Mr DeMarco said any timetable to start work would depend on gaining planning permission but could be completed within five months of the deal being signed.
“Football is an important sport because it brings people together and because the weather is so bad, who can play anything outside?,” he added.
“The reason many five-a-side pitches are uncovered is the because of the investment required.”