Chorley Council to 'make sure' Sport England's concerns are addressed over looming £2.2 million sports hub

Chorley Council has said it wants to make sure everything is correct with its looming multi-million pound sports hub after concerns were raised by a government body.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 9:24 am
How the sports hub could look (Image: Chorley Council)

Sport England has lodged a ‘holding objection’ to the council’s ambitious plans to build a £2.2 million sports hub on the Westway playing fields in Astley Village.

The scheme, which was given the green light at October’s planning committee, is set to create a floodlit full-sized artificial grass pitch and three grass pitches; one full-size and two nine-a-side.

There are also plans for a 100 metre sprint track and two long jump pits.

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The Westway playing fields where the sports hub will be built (Image: Chorley Council)

But as part of the official consultation, Sport England – which has ambitions to grow the number of the people doing sport across the country – has raised issue with the plan.

In a letter to the council, Janet Belfield, the body’s principals Planning Manager for the North, highlighted issues over a lack of lighting for the running track and lighting only for one of the 3G football pitches.

“The lack of lighting would prevent effective use of the athletics facility beyond dusk,” Ms Belfield notes, adding that “further sports lighting is advised”.

She also questions whether the site is the “most appropriate location” for the athletics facility in relation to demand identified from Chorley Athletics and Triathlon Club, which has 396 members, accompanied with Preston Harriers aspirations to use a second venue due to demand.

A blueprint of three of the sports hub's four football pitches along with the 100m running track (Image: Chorley Council)

Coun Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We appreciate the reasonings for the holding objection and they are all important points that we want to address and make sure they are right for everyone going forward.”

Coun Bradley added: “Both Sport England and Chorley Athletic and Triathlon Club were both supportive of the approach in order to ensure we were able to progress with a funding bid to the Football Foundation while we develop the strategic assessment and business case for athletic provision in Chorley as per Athletic England’s request.”

Work can get under way on the sports hub after Chorley Council’s planning committee gave the project the green light in early October.

Committee member Coun Danny Gee proposed the plans for the sports hub should be passed, with a vote subsequently taken to unanimously approve the project.

The scheme is set to transform the Westway playing fields south of Chorley Rugby Union Football Club, between West Way and Chancery Road, into a first-class sports facility and provide overflow parking for events in Astley Park.