ROBBIE Cowling says Forrester Park Golf Club will be a 'fantastic set-up' for Colchester United when it eventually becomes their new training ground.

The U's owner and chairman has expanded on his plans for the Great Totham venue, after purchasing the course last summer.

Mr Cowling plans to eventually move the club's training facility from their current Florence Park base in Tiptree to Forrester Park.

He says there is no timeline in place for the move to happen and it will take 'years, not months' to complete - but insists the location has huge potential.

Cowling said: “I think it would be a fantastic set-up, where we could take what we’ve got which is already one of the best training grounds in League One and League Two and make something even better.

“What a fantastic setting for it, alongside the golf course.

“It’s a venue with so much potential.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

“There’s no timeline in place but it will be years, not months.

“It’s not going to happen immediately but I think we’ll see it morph.

“We’ve already set up a couple of training areas at Forrester Park, so it’s a change of venue for the players.

“They can come over here and train here, somewhere different and it’s just a little bit of a change of venue.

“It’s a further investment in the football club that I’ve think I’ve continued to make every year."

Colchester have been based at their current Florence Park training venue for more than a decade, following its opening in 2012.

However, Mr Cowling says the venue has its limitations, prompting him to buy the nearby Forrester Park with a view to moving the club's training base there.

“The main problem that we have at Florence Park is that there’s a lot of restrictions," said Mr Cowling.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

“For example, because of the World Cup we started the season early this year and we had two weeks where we weren’t allowed to use our training ground because of planning restrictions.

“When our youth team play on a Saturday, they have to finish by 1pm, because of planning restrictions.

“There’s actually quite a lot of things that handcuff us over there and hold us back, so we really want to get somewhere where we don’t have any of those restrictions.

“We want to be able to get floodlights and we can’t do that, where we are.

“There has always been those restrictions and it’s never been popular with the residents, when it went there in the first place.

“Where it is, there’s potential to build on it in the future and the money that releases could build an unbelievable training ground (at Forrester Park)."

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

The academy is crucial to the U's, with Mr Cowling investing a great deal of finance into the club's youth set-up.

In order to retain their prestigious Category Two academy status, their training facilities are required to meet certain criteria - another consideration in the move to Forrester Park.

Mr Cowling added: “One of the objectives I’ve set Dmitri (Halajko) as sporting director is we now have to be the best Cat Two.

“We sit in the middle of the cat twos and we want to be the best.

“Part of that is getting some of those restrictions lifted.

"We need floodlights, we need to be able to play games all over the weekend and we need to be able to start training in the summer as early as we want.

“We need a ground that can do that and hopefully, we can build something at Forrester Park that will help us do that."

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

Colchester's players trained at Forrester Park for the first time, on Tuesday.

The move from Florence Park to the Great Totham venue will take some time but it is likely the U's first team will train at Forrester Park more, in the coming months.

In addition ,a new state-of-the-art golf simulator has also been installed at the club, allowing players to sample any course in the world.