Environment Agency starts works on new sport facilities at Archbishop Temple School as part of Preston and South Ribble £54 Million Flood Scheme
The new sports facilities are being built to prevent disruption caused by flood defence works, but will benefit the community long-term.
The Environment Agency have started works on three new grass football pitches and an artificial wicket at Archbishop Temple Church of England High School in Fulwood as part of the Preston and South Ribble Flood Risk Management scheme.
The new facilities are being created to allow two sports clubs at South Meadow Lane to continue to play during the flood defence works which are set to take place in that area between April 2022 and June 2023.
The new sports facilities will further benefit the school's students and the wider community, as once works are complete, the Environment Agency will be leaving the facilities as part of a legacy of the scheme, meaning there will be more grass football pitches and cricket facilities to play sports locally.
Andy Brown, Flood Risk Manager for Lancashire at the Environment Agency, said: “Archbishop Temple School have been really supportive of the scheme and the works to their grounds. For the Environment Agency to be able to create pitches for the clubs to use during construction and leave a lasting legacy as a result of the flood defence works is fantastic.
“We’re working to better protect communities from this risk, with climate change projection built into the design of flood defences to ensure they are fit for the future.”
David Taberner, Head of PE at Archbishop Temple School, said: “The new facilities for the school are invaluable to us at Archbishop and the wider community, we will be able to play more sports and competitive matches once they are complete.
“We have been looking to improve our facilities for our students for some time and so working with the Environment Agency to achieve this will benefit us and the city of Preston well into the future.”
Ivan Catlow, Headteacher at Archbishop Temple School, said: “The work to improve our football pitches is about so much more than rehousing a sports team due to work on flood defences. Led by the EA everyone involved quickly realised the impact and legacy such a project could have on the lives of so many children. Children and adults alike are going to have some of the very best sports pitches to enjoy for many years to come.
“The sustainability of this project is as important a feature as the pitches themselves. Grass pitches are a premium and I am excited to say three of the best in Preston will be at Archbishop Temple Church of England High School. I cannot thank enough the staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make this project happen.”
The Environment Agency achieved planning permission for their new flood defence in April 2021, with the £54.7 million scheme directly reducing flood risk to 4,700 homes and businesses from Preston Riversway up towards the M6 and Higher Walton.
Completion of new defences at South Meadow Lane in 2023 will provide better flood mitigation for Preston Sports Club and BAC/EE Social and Sports Club Association but during construction both will be temporarily disrupted.
To ensure the clubs and their teams can continue to play, coach and practice, the Environment Agency will create the new football pitches and cricket wicket at the school for BAC/EE Club to use during the construction of the flood defences.
Flood defence works will impact the clubs for around 12 months from June 2022, but once works are complete, the clubs and their facilities will be reinstated and brought back into full use as they are today.
Archbishop Temple School and both sports clubs have been working closely with the project team on the new facilities, which are especially important for communities in Preston as there is currently a shortage of grass football pitches meaning grass roots clubs especially, struggle to play games and secure fixtures.
The Environmental Agency have worked with the Football Foundation, Tom Finney FC, Preston North End FC, Lancashire Football Association, Sport England and Preston City Council to maximise these new facilities, with the provision of sports pitches being a requirement of the planning process with Sport England.
For further information visit www.thefloodhub.co.uk/PSR.