Beds, Herts & Bucks

MK Dons plans training facility for National Bowl in Milton Keynes

National Bowl from the air Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The National Bowl has a 65,000 capacity and opened in 1979

An "iconic" music venue that has hosted Michael Jackson, Oasis, Queen and Foo Fighters is set to be "brought back to life" by a football club.

Milton Keynes Dons said it hoped to develop a "state-of-the-art training facility" at the National Bowl.

The open-air amphitheatre was built in 1973 and held its last concert in 2015.

The plans, yet to be approved, will include 12 football pitches and a community hub. The venue would still hold concerts, the club said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Foo Fighters, fronted by Dave Grohl, played at the venue in 2011

MK Dons said an agreement to develop the 49-acre (20-hectare) former clay pit had been reached with Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP) and Milton Keynes Council.

It would be used "365 days a year" by the club's first team, its academy and the Milton Keynes community, it said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Electric Daisy Carnival was one of the last big music events to be held on the site in 2015

The venue would also be used by Milton Keynes Cycling Association, which would continue to hold events and training there.

Pete Marland, leader of Milton Keynes Council, 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."

Image copyright Ian Sanders/Geograph
Image caption Green Day played at The National Bowl in June 2005
Image copyright Mkdons.com
Image caption Pete Winkelman, (left), chairman of MK Dons, said: "This is the biggest news for some years regarding the football club"

Pete Winkelman, the club's chairman, said: "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 demands a major investment and an innovative delivery mechanism."

Plans for the site, in Watling Street, are expected to be submitted in 2020.

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