PNE training ground switch 'no surprise' say Ingol residents who now fear more housing
Residents fighting Preston North End’s plans for a new training camp at Ingol admit they are “not surprised” the club has now decided to relocate out of town.
North End revealed this week it had bought the former Wigan Athletic training ground in Euxton and will move there in early October.
While the switch has been rumoured for two weeks, it still came as something of a surprise to fans who had been expecting PNE would eventually build its own top class facility on part of the former Ingol Golf Club course, owned by Trevor Hemmings.
But locals opposed to development of the open green space admit they were not shocked.
“To be honest this is something we expected, but not quite how we expected it,” said Alan Brookes, one of the leading members of the Ingol Golf Villages Residents’ Association.
“It is no surprise the Ingol training ground won’t now be built, that was something we anticipated. But the move to Euxton is a surprise.”
Alan said IGVRA had always suspected the former golf course, which was closed almost five years ago, would end up as a giant housing estate.
The training ground development was tied into plans for 450 new homes - 150 of which are currently being built on land where the old clubhouse and holes one, 17 and 18 once stood.
"Mr Hemmings' company Northern Trust is first and foremost a property development company and people should not lose sight of that fact," he added.
"Our objection all along is that this large area of green space, which locals have enjoyed so much - especially during lockdown - is being developed for housing.
"In many ways it is the lungs of this area because we don't have an awful lot of green space left, certainly not on this scale. And the last six months of coronavirus has shown what an asset it is.
"There won't be any celebrations around here that the training ground won't now be built. The alternative is surely more housing."
A PNE spokesman said: “Questions have been asked about our land at Ingol, that has planning permission for a new training facility.
“The chance to purchase Euxton only became available some two weeks ago and we had to move quickly to complete the deal. In this sense, the purchase was opportunistic, but is one that delivers on our promise of bringing Premier League training facilities to the club.
“We will now reflect on what our strategy is for Ingol, recognising the land is in the ownership of the club.”