Relief amongst Preston residents over new route for PNE training ground construction traffic

A resident living close to the site where Preston North End’s new training ground is set to be built has described his relief after highways bosses demanded that construction traffic be diverted away from narrow roads in the area.

By Paul Faulkner
Friday, 1st May 2020, 12:30 pm

In March, Preston City Council’s planning committee approved a series of technical conditions relating to the development on the former Ingol Golf Course. Among them were details of the route that heavy goods vehicles would take to access the location.

It was proposed that site traffic should arrive from the north and travel along Lightfoot Lane, Wychnor and Walker Lane before entering the site.

But Dukes Meadow resident Bruce Ellison told the committee that he had other locals believed the plans posed a danger – because of the narrowness of Wychnor and Walker Lane, coupled with the fact that HGVs would be passing directly in front of Harris Primary School.

How the new Preston North End training ground will look

The meeting heard that Lancashire County Council, as the highways authority, had not raised any objections and the proposed route was approved. But County Hall has since echoed the residents’ concerns.

The plans have now been amended so that construction traffic approaches from the south, via Boys Lane and Walker Lane. Papers presented to Preston City Council state that initial concern about the strength of a railway bridge on Boys Lane had now been addressed after consultation with Network Rail.

Mr. Ellison welcomed the u-turn, but said that the original proposed route was always a dead end.

“This has caused a lot of unnecessary angst amongst residents, particularly on Wychnor.

“Network Rail should have been spoken to long ago to see if the bridge was suitable for HGV traffic, it shouldn’t have been left until the last minute,” Mr. Ellison added.

Final approval for the conditions is set to be granted by Preston City Council’s chief executive next week, under emergency powers initiated in the absence of planning committee meetings during the coronavirus crisis.

But Mr. Ellison said that another issue which he raised at the meeting in March – that the address of the site on official documentation was incorrect – did not appear to have been rectified.

He told the committee that the description of the location as “Ingol Golf Club” – which is no longer in existence and lies some distance from the actual entry point to the training ground development – risked the emergency services being misdirected and delayed should they ever be called to the site.

Speaking again about the matter, Mr. Ellison told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “If that address hasn’t been changed on the construction and environmental management plan, it’s a health and safety issue and could cost someone’s life.”

When the LDRS contacted Preston North End about the issue in March, the club said that it had “put the planning and works required to move forward with our training ground plans at Ingol in the hands of third party contractors”.

The club offered to put Mr. Ellison’s concerns to the company, but the LDRS was never made aware of any response.