Preston North End’s proposal for hundreds of homes on Ingol golf course has been refused.Advertisement
It’s prompted outcry from the club, the city council leader and legions of PNE fans.
The Championship club had applied to build a new state-of-the-art training ground off Walker Lane.
It also applied to build 450 homes and create a new public open space on the currently unused golf course.
Preston City Council’s planning committee – which had been recommended to approve both planning applications – decided to overturn the officer’s recommendation on the housing development.
PNE made clear both applications needed to pass for the scheme to progress. Work on the new training ground would need to start by August this year to be ready for the 2018-19 season. The training ground application itself was approved.
Read more: A virtual tour of PNE’s proposed new training facility
However, councillors refused the homes application saying the loss of open space was too great and it risked urban sprawl in the Ingol and Fulwood area.
More than 250 letters of objection had been received by nearby residents against the proposal citing over-development and pressure on the road network. Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace also expressed his objections to the club’s plans.
The club released a short statement after the planning decision saying the future of the scheme was now in doubt.
It said: “The Council’s decision today to refuse the main planning application involving a new training facility, gifted open space and residential development is a major blow to our aspirations, and therefore the city’s aspirations, of us achieving our Premier League ambitions.
“We will now reflect on the way forward, knowing that whatever we ultimately achieve will be without the support of the City Council.”
In an unprecedented move, the leader of the city council took to Twitter to express his disappointment at the decision.
With the city council under increasing pressure to increase Preston’s housing stock the application had been recommended for approval.
Fantastic app for future of PNE turned DOWN by Planning Com. Perverse decision, kick in teeth to city & PNE @leponline @blogpreston #shocker
— Peter Rankin (@pcc_leader) June 15, 2017
Preston’s MP Mark Hendrick also chipped in with his views.
Usually don’t comment on Council matters as MP, but Planning C/tee refusal of @pnefc training grnd, housing & park application is #madness!
— Mark Hendrick (@MpHendrick) June 15, 2017
Read more: What Walker Lane is like without the PNE training ground
Fans of Preston North End have been showing their disdain for the planning committee’s decision.
AshtonArmy tweeted: “Shame on you. Imagine the tourism and the money Premier League football would bring to our city.”
North End Fans, Jordan Wilson, tweeted: “No ambition. Imagine the tourism and the money Premier League football would bring. Ask Huddersfield.”
Anthony Winckley said: “Absolute shamles. A disgrace to this proud city, backing the club means investing in the city you represent.”
Morgan Murray tweeted: “Gutted for PNE regarding the new training ground. Such a shame when the own people of Preston won’t back the club.”
A petition has been set up by fans to ask the city council to reverse its decision.
Ingol councillor Neil Darby, who spoke out against the planning application, said: “First and foremost, I want to see Preston North End to be a successful Premier League football club. Such a status would be a boost to the city, both morally and economically. I understand that a new training ground would help in such ambitions.
“However, this particular application was in the wrong place and came with strings that would be unacceptable to local residents. Had this application gone through as proposed, it would have removed one of just two designated Areas of Major Open Space and could have fatally undermined the Preston Local Plan. This Plan took many years and resources to produce, and lays the foundation for Preston’s growth over the coming decade or more.
“The residents I represent in Ingol and Tanterton have been fighting consistent cynical attempts by a developer to build on the open space of Ingol Golf Course for a number of years now. When I was elected, I promised to continue to fight alongside them to prevent the loss of the open space we have. It would have been wrong for me to go back on such a promise and I firmly believe that there are better and more appropriate sites where PNE could build a new training facility.
“If and when PNE put forward an application more suitable for Preston and local residents, I will be very happy to support them. In the meantime I will continue to support residents in their desire to protect Ingol Golf Course as an Area of Major Open Space.”
The club now has a number of options:
1) It could appeal the decision made by the planning committee. This would go to a planning inspector for them to decide.
2) It could press on with just the training ground, as this gained approval from the planning committee. It was the outline application for homes and the wider development which was refused.
3) It could find a different site to develop, or look again at re-developing its existing training base at Springfield
4) It could revise the current planning applications and re-apply to the city council for planning permission
5) It could do nothing
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