Fitness push races on as South Ribble plans yet more council cash for leisure facilities

Two more sports facilities in South Ribble could be given a major cash boost next week as part of the council’s pioneering plan to improve the fitness of residents.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 4:42 pm

The authority is considering splashing out £217,500 on work to improve Fox Lane Sports and Social Club in Leyland and up to £180,000 on upgrading changing rooms used by the public at Penwortham Priory Academy.

Cabinet members will be asked on Wednesday to approve funding for both schemes as part of the council's ongoing Leisure Local programme which was launched in 2020.

And the council has revealed it is also in discussions with Balshaw High School in Leyland about helping to fund a new sports hall - Balshaw is the only secondary school in South Ribble which currently doesn’t have one.

Fox Lane Sports and Social Club could be set for a major refurb.

The proposed spending follows millions of pounds already committed to improving the borough's leisure centres, a £300,000 project to build a new community centre at Gregson Green, £300,000 on upgrading sports facilities at Lostock Hall Academy and a £250,000 allocation to a number of community groups and sports clubs.

The council says the latest two schemes selected for funding will "further improve South Ribble's leisure offer."

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If approved the Fox Lane Sports ands Social Club project would see the building of a replacement tennis pavilion.

Public changing facilities at Penwortham Priory Academy are in a poor state.

It would also include an upgrade of floodlights for tennis and bowling, repairs to pathways and the provision of new benches around the bowling green,.

New disabled toilets would be provided in the club, with new fencing fitted in part of the site, the re-roofing of the cricket pavilion, a new boiler for the club and the refurbishment of the "tired-looking" interior of the bar, lounge and function room.

In return the club will contribute £35,000 towards the refurbishments and £7.500 towards the tennis pavilion.

A report to the cabinet says: "Work will be carried out to remedy immediate health and safety concerns, sports facilities will be made more attractive, accessible, and inclusive, and club facilities will be improved to create new revenue generation opportunities.

Talks are going on to build a new sports hall for Balshaw High School.

"Fox Lane Sports and Social Club have demonstrated an appetite to become more community focused.”

On the need for a new tennis pavilion, the report adds: "The current tennis changing facility is an old static caravan. This is in poor condition and is not fit for purpose.

"Further to this, no sports clubs across the site have changing facilities for females, creating a huge barrier for female involvement.

"The new tennis pavilion will provide the tennis club with a space to get changed, store equipment, and have refreshments, consequently making the club more attractive.

"The pavilion will also contain separate male and female changing rooms, open to members from all sports clubs on the site. This reduces the barriers for female participation in the sports clubs."

At Priory Academy the current changing facilities and toilets used by the public are said to be "in urgent need of refurbishment."

"These have become very run down, much below the standard of community leisure facilities, and are not fit for community use,” says the council report.