Apartment block to be built on bowling green of one of Preston's oldest working men's clubs

The derelict site of one of Preston's oldest working men's clubs is to be turned into a two-storey apartment block.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 3:45 pm

Plans for a supported living complex with 13 flats and a communal lounge in place of the old Fishwick Ramblers Club's overgrown bowling green have been passed by the city council.

The club, named after a football team which played as Preston North End's reserve side in the 1880's, closed down in 2014. The site, in Mornington Road, is now a vandalised eyesore.

The scheme to replace it with special needs housing attracted 55 objections from the public and also concerns from local councillor Jonathan Saksena over shared parking with the adjacent Fever Dance Studio.

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How the new apartment block will look (Image: David Cox Architects).

The public objections involved its impact on neighbouring properties and also parking in Mornington Road, off New Hall Lane.

Fishwick Ramblers was built in 1920 and for decades was a leading club for crown green bowling with its immaculately manicured green.

Yet by 2013 the club was struggling financially and was on the verge of closing down when members stepped in to run it as a co-operative.

The takeover was brief and the club ceased trading in 2014 after the council's licensing committee withdrew its licence after complaints about late night noise.

How the Fishwick Ramblers Club used to look before it became derelict and overgrown.

Despite the local opposition to the apartment complex, council officers have approved it. A key factor they considered was the loss of a sports field - the bowling green - but they decided it was now disused and therefore surplus to requirements.

The officers also ruled the plan would have no "unacceptable adverse impact" on neighbouring properties in terms of loss of privacy or overshadowing.

"The site covers a former bowling green which is designated as green space," says a report by planning officers. "However, the club has been closed for approximately seven years and as such is no longer required."

The scheme includes 13 one-bed apartments, a residents' lounge, a communal garden area, overnight accommodation for a carer and 14 car parking spaces.

The club, as it was, with its adjoining Fever Dance Studio.

Developers Weaver Finch say the apartments are for "people who are able and ready to live more independently in supported housing environments."

The company says the site is "overgrown, with evidence of fly tipping, vandalism and other forms of antisocial behaviour due to the lack of natural surveillance.

"The site in its current dilapidated state subsequently represents an eyesore and public liability as opposed to the community asset it once will have been when there was demand for the community facilities."