PNE decision day arrives: What you need to know

What the main training ground building could look like
What the main training ground building could look like
Share this article

The future of Preston North End's training ground masterplan will be decided by the city council's planning committee on Thursday.

Here are some key details about the proposals and what we can expect.

What does the application include?

The Championship club has re-submitted its bid for approval to build a training ground complex and create housing development sites and public open space on land at Ingol Golf Club.

Back in June, the planning committee rejected the over-arching bid but granted separate permission for just the training ground.

But the club has said it needs the "hybrid" bid to be accepted as the cash generated from selling the housing sites to developers will help fund the rest of the development.

The application is asking for permission for up to 450 homes, spread over eight sites. The original application contained nine sites but the club has removed one and added more public open space.

The open space proposals would mean the first public park in the city for decades in addition to leisure and recreation facilities.

Why was the original decision rejected?

Planning officers had advised committee members to approve plans despite them going against local planning guidelines. However, the committee opted to reject the hybrid application due to concerns it would create urban sprawl and impact on the character of nearby areas.

Councillors did not agree with the officers that the public open space offering mitigated these concerns.

However, the committee did not agree on the decision and the motion to reject won by four votes to three with one abstention. Likewise, the decision to grant approval for the separate training ground application was also a split vote that went down to a casting vote by the chairman.

What will happen today?

The committee will hear representations both in support and against the re-submitted bid. Given that the original application was rejected, it is expected that the changes PNE has made to the plan will be the main focus for committee members.

The planning committee has 12 members including chairman Coun Javed Iqbal and vice-chair Coun David Borrow. Several members were barred from voting at the original meeting as they were deemed to have a conflict of interest with these plans as they are PNE season ticket holders and several were not present at the June meeting.

Members will have the opportunity to quiz officers about the details of the plans in a process that could take several hours.

Each member will then cast a vote on whether to follow officer recommendations to approve the plan or to reject for a second time.

What are the consequences of the decision?

Given the controversial nature of this application, it is fair to say whichever way the decision goes, there are going to be some extremely disappointed individuals.

If the club - which has previously said these plans are crucial to their Premier League ambitions - is given another knock-back, it is unlikely that they will re-submit for a third time and will explore other options, likely an appeal.

Likewise, residents' groups and councillors representing areas around Ingol have vowed to maintain their opposition to the very end, meaning appeals to the secretary of state could be expected.

If PNE is given the green light, officials have previously said they hope to have the training ground up and running for the 2018/19 season, which suggests construction could start within months.

For more background please visit these articles from the ongoing saga:

PNE planning meeting tickets sold out

PNE meeting to be ticket only event at Guild Hall

Training ground bid fails to clear planning hurdle

PNE re-submits training ground plan

PNE decision dominates council meeting

Venue change considered due to PNE bid