A planning application has been submitted to create a new high-quality sports facility in the heart of the county.
Led by Lancashire County Council, the proposed development for Lancashire Cricket will bring together elite and community cricket on a site at Farington, near Preston.
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, whilst also providing a new training base for Lancashire’s men’s and women’s teams.
If planning is approved, the new facility would become a Center of Excellence for women’s cricket in the North-West, further encouraging the growth of cricket in the region.
County Councilor Phillippa Williamson, leader of the county council said: “This is a fantastic project which will create high quality cricket facilities in the heart of the county, with a significant boost to our economy and new jobs.
“These are exciting proposals and I’m especially pleased that these facilities would help encourage more people to take part in sports, including younger people.”
As well as providing elite training facilities for the club, it will also be made available to the local community throughout the year, including local cricket clubs and schools.
The new facilities will help to support additional health and well-being opportunities, through active participation in sport and will assist the Lancashire Cricket Foundation in delivering nationwide cricket programs, such as All Stars Cricket (aged 5-8) and Dynamos Cricket (aged 8 -11).
The development will also create up to 30 new jobs, as well as those generated during the construction process – in addition to further training and skills opportunities.
The planning application has been submitted and validated by the county council, who will determine the application in line with the government’s planning policy. The planning application is available to view on the county council’s planning portal.
It will be subject to consultation through the usual planning application process, with opportunities for people to comment.
Chair at Lancashire Cricket, Andy Anson, added: “This project is a hugely exciting collaboration between Lancashire Cricket and Lancashire County Council, with the aim of delivering a valuable asset for the local community, as well as high-quality professional facilities for the club in the heart of Lancashire.
“With the amount of international and domestic cricket (men’s and women’s) being held at Emirates Old Trafford, the need for a second ground has become pressing.
“It’s something that we’ve been working on for a while and the new development will provide fantastic elite facilities for our squads and can also be used for recreational cricket and the wider community.
“We have made a number of changes to the plans following on from public consultation with local residents and we are hopeful of a positive outcome to the application.”
A public consultation was held in December and January. Consultations have also taken place with representatives from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), cricket’s national governing body.
The practice nets have been moved closer to the pavilion building and will be at a lower level than Fowler Lane to reduce their visual impact, which also places the main structures and buildings together. Acoustic fencing will help to reduce the noise level to nearby properties.
Owned by the county council, the proposed site in Farington is alongside the A582 Farington Road on the west side of Stanifield Lane, and a short distance from the M65 and M6.
The proposals have been sensitively and carefully designed to respect the Green Belt setting, both to preserve the open and green setting and to protect the amenity of neighboring residents.
New tree planting, landscaping and green spaces will provide an attractive setting and provide screening for local properties.
Cabinet member for economic development and growth at Lancashire County Council, County Councilor Aidy Riggott, said: “We announced the plans in December to get people’s views on the proposals. Since then, we’ve made changes to the practice nets, based on feedback we received, including from the ECB.
“Thank you to everyone who gave their views to shape these exciting plans. We’ve worked closely with the club to improve the proposals, so that they fit in with the local area even more.”
The site has been identified as the preferred location after considering the necessary requirements for the new facility, including location, access and the space required.
Find out more about the plans at www.lancashire.gov.uk/cricket