£18m sports and science park set for Fylde

Ambitious plans to create an £18m sports and science park that could create 200 new jobs for the Fylde have been officially unveiled.

Fylde 18m1The proposed park, on a 32-acre site off junction three of the M55 at Kirkham, includes community sports and education facilities as well as new retail, leisure and commercial development.

The plan for the Mill Farm site also includes a new stadium for ambitious non-league football club AFC Fylde.

David Haythornthwaite, chairman of the club and head of the Lytham-based Tangerine Group, unveiled the Fylde sports and science park vision, at a press conference in Lytham today. A new company called Mill Farm Ventures has been created to develop the plan on land formerly used for commercial tree production.

The masterplan for the proposed development has been drawn up by leading north west architecture and design practice, the Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP).

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has a wealth of experience designing and masterplanning community sports developments of all sizes across the UK.

More than 60 sports clubs throughout the country have benefitted from FWP’s advice, with many of them going on to design and build modern new facilities.

Locally, FWP has worked on projects with Preston North End and Fleetwood Town and is developing stadia and community assets for clubs such as FC United of Manchester, Peterborough United and Berwick Rangers.

The Mill Farm site has been allocated for employment and leisure uses in the emerging Fylde Local Plan.

Proposals for the site include a large indoor sports science building providing a range of educational and sporting activities for local schoolchildren.

There will also be a number of state-of-the-art all weather pitches for community use, including full-size floodlit football pitch with a 3G surface.

The development includes a foodstore, a distribution centre with associated office space, a 63-bed hotel, petrol station and a public house.

The new AFC Fylde stadium would have a 6,000 capacity and include a modern 2,000 all-seater main stand with supporters’ bar, executive boxes and a function room.

Unveiling the plans, which will be submitted to Fylde planners after a period of public consultation, David Haythornthwaite said: “The Fylde sports and science park is an ambitious investment in the local economy and has been put together by a team of experts from Lancashire.

“We anticipate we can create up to 200 new jobs over the next three years, many of them for local people.

“It will also provide local schoolchildren with a modern, state-of-the-art sports science facility as well as excellent community sports facilities which will be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.

“This is a well thought out development plan that will create superb facilities and help fuel the economic growth of the area. “If all goes to plan the first phase of the facility could open in September next year.”

He added: “From AFC Fylde’s point of view the new stadium will provide us with an excellent home and a springboard to future success on and off the pitch. It will also bring us much closer to central Fylde.

“We have made real efforts to ensure we have the parking and the infrastructure needed to grow as a successful community club.”

David Robinson, managing partner at FWP, said: “We have worked very hard to create a viable masterplan for a vibrant development that will be a real asset to the community and the local economy.

“We have worked on a number of successful sports projects around the country developing health, educational and community assets into sports stadia.

“This is the way forward for many sports associations and not just football clubs. Sensible commercial developments can help to fund the sports facilities and ensure there is day-to-day activity providing income, not just on match days, but seven days a week.”

The Fylde sports and science park masterplan will be guided through the public consultation and planning process by Paul Walton, director of PWA Planning in Preston.

He said: “This mixed use planning application represents the culmination of efforts by an experienced team of consultants.

“The site is allocated for employment and leisure uses in the emerging Fylde Local Plan and this proposal directly addresses the council’s and national Government’s aspirations surrounding sustainable development.

“The high quality scheme proposes a mix of employment, sporting and leisure uses and other developments, including expanded facilities for an existing employer.

“The development will help to sustain the local economy and provide much needed sporting facilities and jobs for this part of the Fylde coast.

“We have been working closely with officers of Fylde Borough Council and we expect that this co-operation will continue as the planning application proceeds to a determination.” Public consultation will begin later this month with a number of local meetings planned. The public will also get the chance to see a scale model of the proposed development, which was also unveiled today.