Venue change considered due to PNE bid

An impression of what PNE's new training facility would look like
An impression of what PNE's new training facility would look like
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The intense focus on Preston North End’s controversial training ground bid could see next month’s planning meeting moved to the city’s largest venue.

Facilities at both the Guild Hall and County Hall have been considered due to the level of public interest in the plans, the Lancashire Post understands.

The contentious application on the site of Ingol Golf Club - which includes housing developments, open public land and the training ground - was rejected by the planning committee last month.

But the Championship club has re-submitted a modified version, replacing one of the housing plots with more public open space.

The June meeting was delayed as council officers sought extra chairs with the public seating area in one of the town hall’s conference rooms reaching capacity.

This heightened level of interest has prompted council bosses to consider the different venues. The town hall is expected to confirm details of where the August meeting will be held next week.

A fans’ petition supporting PNE’s plans was presented to council leader Coun Peter Rankin at the latest meeting of the full council having topped 3,000 signatures.

The committee previously decided the housing provision - up to 450 homes - would create urban sprawl and went against local planning guidelines.

Residents’ groups and councillors in Ingol have vowed to oppose the modified plans.

Whatever decision the planning committee reaches will prove to be controversial such is the strong opinions on both sides of the debate.

At the full council meeting, Conservative opposition leader Coun Neil Cartwright criticised how members of the committee had been treated in the wake of the PNE decision, calling some of the attention they had received, particularly on social media, as “unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, Coun Jason Jeffrey, who represents the Liberal Democrats for Ingol ward, called for the application to be passed to the secretary of state rather than remain with the city council.

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