Land at a historic Fylde sports club could be sold off for housing to fund new facilities, The Gazette can reveal.
Lytham Cricket and Sports Club, in Church Road, Lytham, is investigating the sale of part of its grounds in a bid to improve its ageing clubhouse and changing rooms.
But any plans for the site face a battle from heritage groups, which believe the club, established close to 160 years ago, is protected from development by ancient covenants.
Early indications show the development could include as many as 10 plots and engulf up to 1.5 acres of the site.
Club members have met to discuss the proposals and director, Graham Stuart, admitted the organisation is in the early stages of looking to develop the site.
He added: “Our facilities are now past their sell-by-date in the sense the clubhouse was built more than 50 years ago, with a life expectancy of 40 years.
“We need to develop the club and need outside finance.
“The only way of potentially raising that finance is to look to sell some land which is not being used for sport.
“As it stands it is in the very early stages. There is no planning permission and members have not even voted.
“The homes would be to the right of the entrance and we would move the football pitch slightly.”
The cricket club was first established in 1855 by Squire Clifton of Lytham Hall and became a multi-sports club in the 1960s, incorporating cricket, tennis, hockey and football.
Mr Stuart added: “Unless we get some finance into the club we are not going to be able to improve the facilities and they would not last. The changing rooms are in poor condition and have not been altered for many years and are not proper facilities for ladies. If somebody wanted to be a benefactor then we would welcome investment.
“We have 500 members – I am hoping people will see the bigger picture.”
‘Look at the bigger picture’
The proposal faces a battle, with Lytham St Annes Civic Society confirming it will oppose any development.
The society believes the sports site has protective covenants and permission would be needed from Lytham Town Trust.
Marion Coupe of the Civic Society, said she hoped the club would investigate other funding avenues.
She added: “The civic society will again oppose any development on this site which we believe has covenants imposed upon it.
“The development cannot take place without the consent of the Town Trust as ground landlord. The club is a valuable community asset and selling off the family silver in this way is too short term an expedient. It would be good to see the club trying to raise money another way over the long term. They should take advice and we are happy to take part in any community bid for funding. This is the bigger picture.”