New site earmarked for AFC Fylde complex

David Haythornthwaite, chairman of AFC Fylde
David Haythornthwaite, chairman of AFC Fylde
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A MILLIONAIRE businessman and football chairman has revealed his latest vision for a new sports complex.

David Haythornthwaite, chairman of AFC Fylde, has secured a new 35-acre site to build a sports facility after his previous plans were derailed by people power.

In April last year, plans proposed by Mr Haythornthwaite for the Greenlands Sports Village (pictured right) development were defeated by a majority of 15-1 by Fylde Council’s planning committee.

However, in a fresh move, Mr Haythornthwaite said he hopes to open the complex in time for the start of the football season in 2014, if granted planning permission.

Details are still emerging about the latest plans for the site but it is thought it will be closer to the M55 than their current Kellamergh Park ground.

Mr Haythorthwaite confirmed that a site had been earmarked adding that it is “in the Kirkham and Wesham area”, closer to the club’s heartland.

He also suggested it will be nearer motorway links and rail transport.

“The proposals are very much in their infancy and it will be some weeks or even months before we are in a position to submit a planning application, but a lot of work is going on behind the scenes,” he said.

“The hope is this will bring us much closer to central Fylde. We feel we are rather out on a limb where we are at the moment near Warton. But there is still a long way to go and we will go public with it as soon as we can.”

He added: “After the setback of last year’s failed application in Wrea Green we are hopeful that this time around the planning officers and politicians will support us.

“My hope is we can start ground breaking by June this year and be playing at the new ground for the start of the 2014 season.”

Plans for Greenlands had included a new 2,500-capacity stadium for AFC Fylde, football and hockey pitches.

The complex’s location and size both went against it, as did concerns about the impact it would have on nearby residents – who expressed little support for the plans.

Objectors included residents, councillors, parish councillors and the Wrea Green Action Group, while supporters included sports groups keen to see new facilities built.

Speaking in September after the planning decision, Mr Haythornthwaite said he had hoped to build the complex in Wrea Green, but on a far smaller scale, with revised plans for a site that could be used for football.

He also added at the time that despite the plans for a new application, the hunt for a “more suitable” site for the original complex was to continue.

Wesham Town Coun Martin Howarth said: “I had heard about the football complex plans.

“When the initial plans last year were presented, I was slightly excited at the prospect of the site at Wrea Green.

“However, I would wait with baited breath to see exactly where the new development will be.

“If it’s in an unsuitable site it would not be good for Fylde.”

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