Giant leisure park plans unveiled for Preston Docklands site to include ski slope and watersports lake
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Developers want to turn a 26-acre site alongside the River Ribble into a mammoth facility to cater for a range of sports and leisure pursuits including rock climbing, wind surfing and water-skiing.
The man behind the huge Phoenix Park scheme is Eddie Sloane who owns Trax Motorsport on the dock estate. His company already has planning permission for Phase One of the project, a four-storey facility called the Pioneer Building where young people from 11 to 18 can benefit from a programme of therapeutic residential care and education.
The second of what will eventually be five phases of the scheme has just been submitted to the city council incorporating the dry ski slope, mountain bike track and leisure lake, with 13 lakeside lodges for use by young people on the Pioneer Tec Academy programme.
When the ambitious project is complete it is expected to employ up to 135 staff - 100 of them full-time. The hope is that the development will be partly powered by solar or wind energy.
Planning documents attached to the application say the latest phase is "part of a wider masterplan for the site". It will eventually have football pitches, a skate park, a large wave pool for surfing, an MX track and a high rope course. There will be a 7.5-acre lake with a cable water-ski course, which will also be used for other watersports like wind surfing, kayaking and canoeing.
Trax Motorsports was opened in 2000. It describes itself as "a company based on helping the local authority and the police force to manage and control anti-social behaviour and the illegal riding of motorbikes on public land and spaces".
The 95-metre long ski slope will have a "green run" category with a gradient of approximately 11 degrees with safe surroundings and will be 12-metres high. The watersports lake will be designed to be safe and easily accessible around its perimeter for users of all abilities.
The report adds: "The third aspect of this application is the provision of 13 self-catering lodges around the lake perimeter, taking advantage of the natural open setting, and backing onto the Biological Heritage Site in the north west corner of the existing site. Each lodge will be provided with 2 dedicated parking spaces, though there is ample parking provision across the site."
The proposed mountain bike course will be both uphill and downhill, there will be a huge climbing wall, off-road motorcycling with electric bikes to reduce noise, cycling and walking routes with trim trail and nature trails, and a 4G football pitch.
The site will have a pedestrian link over Savick Brook with a new footbridge, and footpath links to the Ribble Way. The Ribble Steam Railway will run alongside it and the project will also include "ecological enhancement" of the adjacent Biological Heritage Site.
The report says: "It is anticipated that the overall development will be completed in up to five phases, the current application being the second phase, following approval of the Pioneer Building as phase one in 2021."