Village keeps up sports site fight

Wrea Green residents gathered at the village primary school for a planning meeting regarding the proposed sports development and new AFC Fylde ground.'A packed school hall with a model of the development.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'12-9-2011
Wrea Green residents gathered at the village primary school for a planning meeting regarding the proposed sports development and new AFC Fylde ground.'A packed school hall with a model of the development. PIC BY ROB LOCK'12-9-2011
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THE fight against a 27-acre new sports facility has stepped up a gear following a heated meeting of Wrea Green Parish Council.

Councillors refused to support the controversial application from the Haythornthwaite Sports Foundation (HSF) to build a 2,500-capacity football stadium on farmland on the outskirts of the village.

The £10m development, known as the Greenlands Sports Village, would also feature an artificial floodlit pitch, four grass pitches, a football pavilion, jogging trail and a floodlit artificial hockey ground.

But residents are outraged and told parish councillors they were concerned about increased traffic and noise in the village, parking problems, pollution and the effect on the local ecology.

Following the meeting, John Rowson, from the Save Wrea Green Action Group (SWAG), said: “I’m very pleased the parish council have refused it. The development control committee is the next stage and they might be a little harder to convince.

“What will this development provide for this community? We will get noise, extra pollution, and problem parking. I can see no evidence Wrea Green has a need for Greenlands Sports Village.”

Joy Bucklow, of SWAG, raised concerns for great crested newts and breeding barn owls.

She said: “The loss of 27 acres of prime agricultural land would have a devastating affect on the our biodiversity.”

Fellow member Liz Rugman added: “There are major concerns with noise and light pollution t. This is going to destroy the peace of Wrea Green.”

More than 130 residents attended the meeting at Ribby with Wrea Endowed Primary School on Monday evening.

Six hundred residents have already signed a petition against the sports village, which would be used by AFC Fylde, Kirkham Juniors Football Club and Springfields UCLAN Hockey Club.

Derek Lancaster, a trustee of the foundation and a Wrea Green resident, said: “We have got to try for the youth of the future.

“This development is sympathetic to the community site. It is sympathetic to our children, grandchildren and future generation. It is unanimously acknowledged that supporting sports plays a vital part in the fight against crime and drugs.”