‘Club loss is end of village’

Woodlands Memorial Ground, Blackpool Road, Ansdell
Woodlands Memorial Ground, Blackpool Road, Ansdell
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The loss of a historic rugby club could spell the end for a Fylde village, traders have revealed.

Just months after Booths revealed it was pulling out of Ansdell to build a new store in St Annes, a developer has approached Fylde Rugby Club, based at the Woodlands Memorial Ground in Blackpool Road, with a multi-million pound offer for land. The bid is believed to include commercial development and homes.

As it was revealed a third party acting on behalf of the rugby club had contacted Green Drive Golf Club in Lytham offering £500,000 for its practice area to build a new ground, traders raised concerns the possible loss of the club could have in the area.

Marie Thompson, owner of Bennetts Bakery in Woodlands Road said: “It could spell the end for Ansdell.

“I think it would be a big problem. We obviously have Booths moving – it’s going to kill all the little streets. I have lived here for 30 years and in that time the likes of Pollux Gate and the Boulevard has gone near Fairhaven.

“We’re fortunate in that bakeries seem to be doing quite well at the moment.

“You just do not know. More houses would help footfall – but I do not think I would give it the yes vote.”

Ansdell Fisheries manager JK Won said: “It is not good. Many of the fans use the pub. I get the locals and I get customers from the rugby club. If they (developers) open the same kind of shops we have, it could cut business by half.”

Tony King, owner of Fylde Meats in Woodlands Road added: “Anything like a commercial development would not do anyone any favours. With Booths moving too it does no one any good.

“The problem for us is if people choose to use the retail there, it takes passing trade away from us. It is that little bit further away. It will have an added impact with Booths moving on. Any shops will drag trade away, taking it from the village centre.”

Rugby Club chairman Andy Hiles said he was unaware of the move for land at Green Drive – but that a search was taking place.

He added: “As part of discussions with the developer, we have asked it investigates other possible sites, if we move.

“I’m not aware of any discussions with Green Drive. The developer has not come back to us so far with a detailed plan about this.” A special general meeting has been called for April 1 at Fylde Rugby Club, with Mr Hiles saying Fylde must establish “the merits – if any – of a move from our current headquarters.”