Preston North End chief executive John Kay gives training ground update

An artist's impression of Preston's proposed training complex at Ingol
An artist's impression of Preston's proposed training complex at Ingol

Preston North End’s proposed new Ingol training ground remains at the planning stage.

Lilywhites chief executive John Kay provided an update of sorts at a fans’ forum.

Preston North End chief executive John Kay

Preston North End chief executive John Kay

Kay revealed too that plans for a fan zone at Deepdale had come to a halt.

Planning permission for the training ground on land at Ingol Golf Club was granted in the summer of 2017.

The land is now owned by PNE after they brought it from Cleator Manor Limited for £1.5m – that is a company owned by Trevor Hemmings.

While the land has been fenced off for some months, no work has been carried out. Kay said: “There is not much to say from the last time we had a forum (September).

An artist's impression of PNE's proposed training ground at Ingol

An artist's impression of PNE's proposed training ground at Ingol

“The training ground is in the ownership of the club.

“We are working on plans put forward and making some amendments to the site details.

“There is a redesign being done for the building.

“Drainage and irrigation are the biggest issues, so we have no milestone date yet.

“The planning consent for the training ground expires in February 2020 and we will be making sure that consent is preserved and continued.”

When planning consent was first granted, linked with a big housing development on the same site, there was an intention of starting work pretty rapidly. But progress has been slow and Preston continue to train at their Springfields base where they have been since the mid 1990s.

The cost of the Ingol facility has been put around the £10m mark.

It would feature four full-size pitches, warm-up areas and an indoor pitch.

With regards to the fan zone, the plan was to convert the old club shop building next to the offices into a bar area.

Kay said: “We got planning consent and a licence for the former shop.

“We started work on it and got part-way through when the roof starting giving way.

“It meant the work had to stop.

“At the moment we’re not progressing with the fan zone, which is naturally disappointing.”

A fan zone is something which would be popular with North End supporters, with it encouraging more fans to get to Deepdale early ahead of games and help to build up the atmosphere.

There was talk of putting a fan zone in space under the Alan Kelly Town End, before the club shop proposal.

Whether the plans are to be revisited on another site at Deepdale, remains to be seen.