ALBION plans to expand its training ground have been approved by councillors.

The Seagulls had submitted a planning application to Adur District Council for its centre in Lancing.

A corner of land to the south east of the site will be transformed, with a new “club hub” and three more football pitches.

It will provide a new home for the women’s and girls teams which are currently based at the University of Sussex.

They will move to the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre with the men’s squads.

There will also be advanced medical and sports science facilities, a yoga and Pilates studio, and changing rooms, which would be accessible for people with complex needs.

Work on the £22 million scheme was given the green light by councillors last night.

Cllr Neil Parkin, council leader, said: “I am pleased to see Albion continue their investment in Lancing and the wider District.

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“This is a Premier League investment by a Premier League club which will create world-class accessible facilities for footballers across Sussex.

“Albion have shown that they are committed to investing in our community and I look forward to continuing to work this partnership for many years to come.”

Planning committee chairman Cllr Carol Albury said: “The Albion training ground has been a welcome addition to Lancing and over the years there has been a steady growth in the use of the community pitch.

“The committee took into consideration the concerns of neighbours but on balance felt this investment in world-class sporting facilities was the right decision.

“Personally I’m delighted to see that this investment will support the growth of the women’s game and I hope this will allow Albion to remain a Women’s Super League club for many years to come.”

The news follows the departure of Albion’s first team manager Chris Hughton yesterday.

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He was dismissed by chairman Tony Bloom this week after a run of just three wins in 23 matches that dragged Albion into the relegation dogfight.

The search for the new manager and team who will take on first team coaching responsibilities continues.

Albion have been given permission to speak to Swansea boss Graham Potter, reports suggest.

Previously executive director and chairman of Albion in the Community Martin Perry said the approval of plans are “fantastic news” for the club and the community.

He said it represents a £22 million investment in new facilities.

Mr Perry said: “This is also incredibly exciting news for our women’s and girls’ programme, as it allows Hope Powell and her team to have a dedicated facility on site to cater for the senior players, and for our younger players coming through our Regional Talent Club.

“It further demonstrates our commitment to creating an elite environment for everyone at the football club.”