Green light for major new cricket facility

By Tim Aldred

03 Mar 2023

Lancashire Cricket

Plans for a new sports facility which will serve both local residents as well as the county's cricket team have been approved in principle.

Led by Lancashire County Council, the proposed development for Lancashire Cricket would bring together elite and community cricket on a site at Farington.

The plans, which were recommended for approval by council officers, were approved by the county council's Development Control Committee. This application will now need to be referred to the Secretary of State for consideration before any planning permission could be granted – this is normal practice when proposals would affect the green belt.

The aim is to establish a new year-round facility, which would host a number of men’s and women’s competitive matches each year, as an alternative to Emirates Old Trafford, and provide a new training base for Lancashire’s men’s and women’s teams, from age-group to first team.

This new facility would be a Centre of Excellence for women’s cricket in the North West, further encouraging the growth of cricket in the region. In addition to providing elite training facilities for the club, it will also be made available to the local community, including for local cricket clubs and schools.

The project aims to increase the education and training opportunities for students across varied age groups. The club has an ambition to deliver a Lancashire Cricket experience into 1,000 state schools across the county by 2030.

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, leader of the county council, said: "This is an exciting time for this fantastic project with the approval of the planning permission in principle for a first-class cricket ground in the heart of Lancashire.

"We're proud to be working with Lancashire Cricket to bring this elite cricket facility to the county. We now await the Secretary of State's decision on this project.

"As well as providing new jobs and a significant boost to our economy creating these fantastic facilities will support recreational cricket as we encourage more people to take part in and enjoy the sport as well as wider community use."

The new facilities would help to support additional health and wellbeing opportunities, through active participation in sport and will assist the Lancashire Cricket Foundation in delivering nationwide cricket programmes.

The development would provide training and skills opportunities in addition to creating new jobs during the construction process and within the completed facility.

Andy Anson OBE, Chair at Lancashire Cricket, added: "We’ve been working with the county council on this exciting project for some time now and the new development will provide fantastic elite facilities for both our men’s and women’s squads, as well as for recreational cricket and wider community use.

“With the number of international and domestic cricket matches, as well as other events, being held at Emirates Old Trafford, the need for a second ground has become vital. The development will be a first of its kind in domestic cricket and we look forward to seeing work start on the site over the course of the year. We will keep our Members and supporters updated on its progress. I would like to personally thank the county council for their support.”

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