South Ribble leisure site to feature combat games, laser shooting and petting zoo

A South Ribble village is set to become home to a major leisure and recreational development which will include combat games, off-road karting for kids and a petting zoo.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 10:20 am
Updated Thursday, 5th August 2021, 12:42 pm

The attraction will be created at the Turbary House Nursery site off Chain House Lane in Whitestake.

Amongst the activities planned for the facility are laser clay pigeon shooting, archery tag - a game using foam-ended arrows - and other team combat challenges known as “nerf wars”, which also feature foam projectiles. For the more adventurous, the shooting game Airsoft will also be on offer - in which teams battle it out by firing spherical plastic objects at each other.

Battery-operated “Crazi Bugz” will provide a driving experience for children, while the petting zoo is intended to house alpacas, llamas, goats and an aviary.

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The Lancashire Post can reveal that it is expected work will take two years to complete in full - but different elements of the site are expected to open in phases over that period.

South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead to a revised proposal for the scheme after members previously asked the family behind the venture to reconsider associated plans to station touring caravans on part of the six-hectare greenbelt plot.

They had expressed concern over the number of mobile caravan pitches to be included in the development - half of which were earmarked for a greenfield, previously undeveloped section of the site.

Turbary House Nursery in Whitestake

Twenty residential caravans will now be accommodated, down from 26 under the original proposal. Six of them will be of a smaller design to that previously proposed.

The change will see a 41 percent reduction in the size of the touring caravan site - leading to a 0.36 acre area being reinstated as greenfield.

The planning committee meeting was told that while the alteration fell short of the 50 percent reduction previously sought, the applicant Paul Kenworthy had shown that it will already take around 12 years to recoup the outlay for that aspect of the development - and that any further cut in capacity would make the touring caravan proposal unviable.

The last time the committee considered the application in June, nearby resident Lesley Keller had appealed directly to Mr. Kenworthy to “place the wider needs [of] the greenbelt before inappropriate development”.

At the latest meeting, Ms. Keller said she was “really pleased” about the reduced number of touring caravans, but added that she wished the applicant had “gone a little bit further” as the proposal still led to a “shrinking of the greenbelt”.

Fellow objector Neil Worth asked: “Where do we stop developing land - when all the greenbelt’s gone?”

However, councillors were persuaded by the changes and Paul Kenworthy told the Post after the meeting that he and his family - who have operated the Turbary House Farm site for more than 50 years - were “over the moon” that permission had been granted.

“We are all so excited for what the future holds for the site, our family and also all the visitors who will come along to enjoy everything we will have to offer.

“We know it’s going to be a lot of hard work from now on, but we can't wait to get stuck in and get started.

“We will be starting and finishing certain elements of the project to try and open the different areas at different stages in order to start getting people through the gates - so they don’t have to wait the full two years before enjoying our activities and facilities.

“We hope everybody can follow the journey with us on social media or by calling in to see us along the way,” Mr. Kenworthy added.

As part of the redevelopment, existing covered and open storage uses are set to be consolidated in the centre of the site, including a total of 130 caravan storage units - an additional 40 compared to the number currently present at the location. A field to the west of the plot, which is now used for storage, will become an area of unoccupied open space.

Twenty-six people registered their support for the original proposal, while 19 objections were lodged - with concerns including the potential for noise and disturbance.

However, South Ribble planning officers concluded that the 60 metres between the recreational activities and the garden of the nearest residential property were sufficient to keep noise below wider background levels during daytime.

They also advised the planning committee that the development would not have a greater impact on the openness of the greenbelt than the current usage of the site.

One hundred car parking spaces are planned for the development, along with a new caravan office for the neighbouring birds of prey centre, whose operation - and that of a nearby fishery - will be unaffected by the plans.

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