New stand and community sports plan unveiled for AFC Fylde’s Mill Farm

Plans have been revealed for a new stand and indoor training dome at AFC Fylde’s Mill Farm Sports Village home in Wesham.

The new North Stand will have an 1,850 capacity and the development will complete the ambitious non-league club’s multi-million-pound stadium project, which got underway eight years ago.

The indoor dome will feature a 3G pitch for use by the club and the wider community and will be the largest indoor facility of its kind in Lancashire.

The development is the latest stage in the masterplan for Mill Farm created by leading architecture, design and master planning practice Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP).

To assist in the funding of this latest phase of the development, the club is also seeking outline planning permission for up to 100 new houses on the site.

As part of the development, a new traffic light-controlled spine road connecting Fleetwood Road to Coronation Way will be built to provide better traffic flow throughout the site to both the new residential area and the existing businesses.

The new stand, which will be specifically for home supporters, will also house the club’s new museum and state-of-the-art fan zone, along with the usual matchday food and beverage facilities. Improved matchday car parking is also a very important part of the plan.

Integral to the new ground development is a new matchday control room and grounds store which will be incorporated into the existing West Stand.

The Mill Farm project, just off Junction-3 of the M55 motorway, is being delivered from concept to completion by FWP’s specialist sports multi-disciplinary team, with PWA Planning leading the planning application process.

FWP has been involved in Mill Farm from day one – working with club owner, David Haythornthwaite to shape the plans for the mixed-use development and to create a very special home for AFC Fylde and importantly, one that all Fylde Coast residents can be proud of.

David Robinson, managing partner at Preston headquartered FWP, says the practice has worked closely with the club throughout the process to create a vibrant and modern development that is a real asset to the community and its economy.

He said: “The North Stand is the final piece of the stadium jigsaw and completes the vision to create a modern vibrant ground for AFC Fylde that matches its EFL ambitions.

“The proposed indoor training dome and 3G pitch are also part of that vision and combined with the existing outdoor facilities will deliver a sporting facility that is second to none in the area. It will not only benefit the club but also the wider community who will have access to it every day of the week.

“Mill Farm’s development as a sports village has been made possible by associated enabling projects, including several established and highly-successful, commercial and industrial developments on the site which have already brought over 200 permanent and 400 temporary jobs to the area.”

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has built a national reputation for delivering successful football and sports ground projects, through its design work and by creating sustainable community stadiums that generate much-needed income streams.

The practice has worked with a host of football clubs all the way down, from Premier League Everton and Manchester United to non-league clubs, such as AFC Fylde.

The current Mill Farm stadium includes Bradley’s, a 290-capacity sports bar, a 70-seater Italian restaurant, Milano’s, with an ‘al fresco’ roof terrace, Aroma café, serving Costa Coffee, Churchill’s, a large conference and event facility and an 18-bedroom five-star hotel.

Also, currently on site is an Aldi supermarket, a 24-hour EuroGarages petrol station integrating a ‘Spar local’ and a Gregg’s Bakery, together with fast food outlets KFC, Burger King and Starbucks.

Mill Farm is also the site of the Fylde Sports and Education Centre which, as well as being the home of Fylde Hockey Club, also has as six and seven-a-side and two full size 3G pitches.

David Robinson said: “In all our sports sector work our aim is to deliver real destination venues for sport, leisure and entertainment for the whole of the local community, with real benefits for clubs and their supporters.

“Our expertise is in developing modern facilities that will be used by members of the community seven days a week, throughout the year, something we believe is vitally important for modern day sports venues to provide.”

AFC Fylde chairman David Haythornthwaite said: “This is an extremely exciting development for everyone living on the Fylde Coast and indeed beyond.

“The new stadium will be incredible inside and have facilities that will equal those at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, wildly regarded as the best in the world.

"We have some really creative and innovative plans for the new ‘home end’ and I know our fans can’t wait to get in and experience them.

“The new indoor dome, if approved, will raise the bar on sporting facilities in the area and will provide something that even a lot of the Championship teams don’t have. It’s a really great opportunity and we hope the local politicians and planning officers will get behind it.’’

Paul Walton, director of Preston-based PWA Planning, said: “It’s great to be working alongside AFC Fylde again to expand on the success of Mill Farm, which has helped put the club on the map locally, as well as in the world of football.

“This expansion will add another dimension to a stadium which is already incredibly well-equipped for a team in the sixth tier of English football.”

The development will be built by Collinson Construction. Managing director Rob Duxbury said: “We’re proud to have been chosen to work alongside AFC Fylde’s David Haythornthwaite and FWP to deliver this impressive expansion to Mill Farm Stadium.

“We’re currently working on a number of high-profile sports facilities for clients including Crystal Palace Football Club and Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club, so to be working with a local sports club too is really exciting.

“The dome David has chosen is similar to the one we recently installed for Bristol Bears Rugby Club and is a really exciting development for the area.

“The new stand will support the club’s promotion ambitions of moving up to the Football League.”

  • For further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.