Plans for a £9.7million sports hub, café, football pitches and pedestrian access routes for Ashton Park have been submitted.Advertisement
The application from Eric Wright Construction on behalf of Preston City Council follows approval of a report at the December meeting of the full council.
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The facility will include six grass pitches and a 3G sports pitch, and is part of the Active Preston project, designed to encourage more people in the city to participate in healthy activities and improve the wellbeing of residents.
The £9.5m scheme – to be funded with a share of the £20m the city was awarded from the government’s Levelling Up Fund – prompted uproar among many residents when it was the subject of a public consultation in the summer.
Eric Wright Construction has been appointed to design and construct the facility and work is planned to commence on site in summer 2024, targeting completion by late summer 2025.
The scheme includes a two-storey 1,395 sq m sports hub building, which will include a reception area for community use, changing facilities and café on the ground floor with admin offices, meeting rooms and classrooms on the first floor together with a studio and games room.
Eric Wright Construction will also demolish the existing facility, widen the access road off Pedders Lane, and create enhanced access and car parking including electric vehicle charging provision.
Various footpaths will be introduced across the park to improve pedestrian access, accessibility for wheelchair users and connectivity. The scheme will also include soft landscaping including the planting of shrubs and trees.
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Councillor Freddie Bailey, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety, said: “This investment won’t just improve the park, it will transform the area. Subject to planning permission being secured, we are creating a brand new, publicly-owned community hub that will deliver a range of services and improve the quality of life for local residents, grassroots sports clubs and the wider Preston community.”
James Eager, director of Eric Wright Construction, added: “We are really proud to have been appointed to bring forward this super sports facility in our hometown of Preston. It will be a superb asset for the city helping to improve the health of the community and we are looking forward to making a start on site once planning is secured.
“The new facilities will enable youngsters to play various sports all year round, accommodate class-based learning and activities whilst improving fitness, health and well-being as well as the ability to compete and be eligible for competitions.”
Preston-based Cassidy + Ashton is the appointed architect and town planner on the project. Director and architect Lawrence McBurney said: “Sport plays a vital role in the health of adults and children and this new facility will provide first class facilities for the local community.
“Working alongside a team of consultants, we have designed a building and external space that will bring new energy to the park that has been underused for many years due to the poor ground conditions.”
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