Preston North End's training ground masterplan given the green light

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Preston North End's training ground masterplan has been approved by the city council's planning committee.

The "hybrid" bid - which included housing sites and public open space - had been re-submitted having been rejected in June.

But the new application, re-submitted with one fewer housing site and more open space, received seven votes against four from committee members.

Following the decision Peter Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, said: "I've been in football for 30 years and when you want to attract top quality players, they play at the stadium once a fortnight their normal place of work is the training ground.

"If you've got the right facilities to attract and retain the right players, you stand a far better chance of achieving those Premier League ambitions.

"It's a very important part of our plan to get our club into the top flight and of course there will be benefits for the whole city of getting in the Premier League."

Bruce Ellison, Ingol residents' group, who spoke against the application, said the fight is far from over and the process is underway for the decision to be referred to the secretary of state.

He said: "We always knew it was going to on a knife edge. Every single Labour member voted in favour of something that is against their Local Plan, which means this council at risk of call-in on this decision because it has national consequences.

"What's to stop every other developer to come forward? They've just thrown the Local Plan in the bin."

City council leader Coun Peter Rankin said: “I am delighted that colleagues have chosen to make this planning decision, which is a major investment into the city. It will greatly assist PNE as it sets its sights on the Premiership.

"I understand residents’ considerable frustration and disappointment in this result. However, I hope that the creation of the first significant public park in Preston for many years, that plays a major role in this application, combined with the planning controls that will be put into place, will reassure many of those who are currently concerned about the proposed development.

"It is great to have such a major investment into Preston including the support for the ambitions of PNE, who have played such a huge part in the life of Preston and Prestonians for many years, and will do in years to come."

More to follow

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