The first new park in South Ribble for a generation is designed to help preserve the rural nature of the borough.
Central Park, as it will be known, will run as a “green spine” from the A6 roundabout near Brownedge Road, Bamber Bridge, along the route of the Old Tram Road, currently used as a foot and cycle path, through Lostock Hall and will finish near the former National Grid and Vernon Carus sites in Lower Penwortham.
Although already used for recreations, the council aim to “formalise” all the individual green spaces already in existence and expand the area by pulling together separate pieces of land either side of the Old Tram Road that are already in public hands.
Councillor Cliff Hughes announced the plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of South Ribble Council.
He said: “This would be a wonderful way to celebrate our 40th anniversary, by creating a fantastic legacy for the people of South Ribble.
“It will protect a hugely significant area of green space right at the heart of South Ribble for generations to come, adding to the wonderful range of parks that are already on our doorsteps.
“You can effectively walk the length of Central Park on the Old Tram Road already, and there is lots of other infrastructure already in place.
“Much of the current footprint of the park consists of separate pieces of public land, and we’re proposing to pull all of them together so we can protect and enhance them in a co-ordinated way.
“We will be giving our communities the chance to play their part in shaping how this new amenity comes to fruition.”
The park will be a similar size to Worden Park in Leyland, which is more than 150 acres, or 85 football pitches.
Work is to be carried out in phases, and it is hoped that the whole of Central Park will be created within 15 years.
There are no formal plans in place yet as to what the work will consist of, but it is hoped that the community will help to shape the plans for what should be included such as playgrounds, nature trails and sports pitches.
The first step in the parks development is the preparation of a masterplan to detail how the park will be delivered and how the areas within the park will be connected and integrated.
Senior councillors will be asked to approve the commissioning of a masterplan for the park at the council’s next cabinet meeting, which will take place at 5pm on Wednesday, April 2 at the Civic Centre in Leyland.
Pressure on the borough’s green space has been mounting in recent years. As well as initiatives such as the Preston, South Ribble and City Deal and a new Lancashire Enterprise Zone, the government has told the council it must find land to build 417 homes per year up to 2026.
Following extensive consultation with residents, groups and businesses, sufficient land has already been identified as part of the production of a local plan, and the Central Park area will be protected from development.