Sports dream back on the table

David Haythornthwaite (below) hopes to build the new sports site near Junction 3 of the M55.
David Haythornthwaite (below) hopes to build the new sports site near Junction 3 of the M55.

An ambitious plan to revive a sports complex in rural Fylde is to be unveiled – a year after people power derailed a similar scheme.

Multi-millionaire businessman and football chairman David Haythornthwaite said he plans to build a 32 acre sports site near Junction 3 of the M55 roundabout called the Fylde Sports and Science Park.

David Haythornthwaite

David Haythornthwaite

It follows a proposal by Mr Haythornthwaite in April 2012 for a similar site in Wrea Green, which was thrown out by Fylde councillors by a majority of 15-1. Objectors included residents, councillors, parish councillors and the Wrea Green Action Group.

The new site could create 200 jobs and be home for football team AFC Fylde, currently based at Kellamergh Park, near Warton.

A spokeswoman for Mr Haythornthwaite said: “A major new development just off Junction 3 of the M55 at Kirkham is set to provide up to 200 new jobs over the next three years.

“The 32 acre site development, known as the Fylde Sports and Science Park is the brainchild of local businessman, David Haythornthwaite, who tried unsuccessfully to bring forward a similar venture in Wrea Green last year.

“The site will be a combination of sports facilities, education, retail and warehousing plus a new home for AFC Fylde. If all goes to plan the first phase of the facility will open in September next year.”

The previous scheme, called Greenlands, included a 2,500 seater stadium for AFC Fylde, football and hockey pitches. The complex’s location and size both went against it, as did concerns about impact on residents

Speaking earlier this year, Mr Haythornthwaite said the new site had been earmarked for some time: “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.”

Andrea Galbraith of the Wesham Action Group said: “Until I’ve seen the plans its difficult to comment, but we always encourage building on brown field as opposed to green field sites.”

The official plans, including a scale model, will be revealed on Tuesday at Mr Haythornthwaite’s Tangerine Holdings office in Lytham.

Greenlands Village – what went wrong?

In April last year, plans by Mr Haythornthwaite for a sports village in Wrea Green were overwhelmingly rejected by councillors.

At the time he said he was “shocked and disappointed” after Fylde councillors threw out the plans.

His charity, the Haythornthwaite Sports Foundation, wanted to build a new 2,500 capacity stadium for AFC Fylde, artificial and grass football pitches to be used by Kirkham Juniors FC and an artificial hockey pitch which would be the new home of Springfields Hockey Club, on the edge of Wrea Green.

The application was rejected by councillors concerned the community of Wrea Green would not benefit from the facilities, which would result in “urbanisation” of the countryside.

After a planning committee meeting which rejected the plans, chairman Coun Ben Aitken said: “Fylde Council is all for well-planned development, but members believed it was too big and too intrusive.”

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