Planning battles, a fan petition and more: Our timeline of Preston North End's Ingol training ground plan
The path to Preston North End building a new training ground at Ingol Golf Club has been far from straightforward.
ALSO READ: “Things are moving but not necessarily very fast" - Latest on Preston North End's training ground visionFrom big ambitions to planning hold-ups, our timeline takes a look at events over the last couple of years.
October 26 2016: A plan fit for the Premier LeaguePNE unveiled their ambitious plan to move from Springfields at Lea to Ingol Golf Club back in October 2016. As well as a state-the-art training complex and housing, the site would also see the club gift the city its first new public park in more than 100 years.
June 15 2017: Training ground approved but scheme as a whole is knocked backThe scheme suffers a setback at the first planning hurdle despite officers recommending it is approved. Councillors refused an outline application for the whole project, inclusive of the housing development and public park, over concerns it would create urban sprawl. However, a separate application on the specifics of the training ground itself gained planning approval despite a split vote.
June 23 2017: Revised plans submittedJust eight days later a fresh plan was submitted to the council, the original bid which included up to 450 houses having been knocked back. The second attempt at gaining planning approval saw one of the housing sites removed and replaced with a further plot of public open space.
June 29 2017: Fans hand over petition to councillorsA fan-led petition, started by supporter John Kelly, garnered more 3,000 signatures before being handed over to councillors. A feisty meeting of the full city council followed.
July 20 2017: Tickets for planning meeting sell-outAfter a decision is made to move the planning meeting for the revised application to Preston Guild Hall, tickets sell out in less than 90 minutes. An unprecedented step saw 140 tickets available from 10am on Thursday July 20, the allocation having been snapped up by 11.10am.
August 10 2017: Revised application gets the green light from councillorsPlanning committee members vote by seven votes to four in favour of approving the new plan just under two months after the initial plan was rejected. "It's a very important part of our plan to get our club into the top flight and of course there will be benefits for the whole city of getting in the Premier League,” said Peter Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, after the meeting.
August 2017: Newts delay start of workWork on PNE’s new state-of-the-art training complex is delayed a while longer in the interests of conservation. The great crested newt, protected under UK law, has to be moved to a new home before work can begin on the site. The first of several issues that cause a hold up.
September 4 2018: PNE confirm commitment to planAfter weeks of speculation about how the plan is progressing the Post approaches PNE to clarify what is happening. The club say the land is now theirs, rather than belonging to a company owned by Mr Hemmings. Work is said to be progressing although admittedly not at the speed they had hoped. No timeframe is set on completion.