Stadium ‘will hurt trade’

An artist's impression of the proposed new stadium
An artist's impression of the proposed new stadium
Share this article

Plans to give the green light to a new football stadium and out-of-town retail area would “suck the life” out of Kirkham and Wesham, a councillor has claimed.

Coun Elaine Silverwood, who sits on Kirkham Town Council and chairs Kirkham and Wesham Business Group, has made the assertion ahead of a crunch meeting to decide the fate of AFC Fylde’s proposed new stadium.

Coun Silverwood, who has dubbed the £18m project a “mini Deepdale” in reference to Preston North End’s stadium, says she is “extremely concerned” the accompanying retail park will cause people in the area to abandon independent retailers in the towns.

She said: “Out of town retail has a hugely adverse effect on the high street.

“It just sucks the life out and pulls people away.

“My absolute concern and fear, and it would happen, is that we would lose trade from Wesham and Kirkham.

“Little businesses thrive off each other.

“We’ve survived the recession and we’re feeling buoyant because we’ve got the independents back on the high street.

“This is what we’ll lose if we get out of town retail.”

The proposed new development, off Fleetwood Road, north of Wesham, includes a new 6,000 capacity ground for AFC Fylde, an Aldi supermarket and a warehouse.

Outline planning permission is also being sought for a pub, petrol station, drive thru restaurant, retail unit, football training pitches and changing rooms.

Plans for an additional indoor football facility and a plantation of spruce trees have been replaced with a 492 space car park and surface water attenuation pond.

A telephone poll of 500 residents in the two towns commissioned by Mill Farm ventures, the company behind the proposal, claims 74 per cent of those surveyed are in favour of the development.

David Haythornthwaite, chairman of AFC Fylde, said: “Local people agree that we need more sport and retail provision in the area and this survey shows we’ve got a local mandate for the development.

“The survey shows a buy in for plans to deliver new jobs, more shopping choices and new sports facilities.”

Earlier this month AFC Fylde won promotion to the Conference North, two steps below the Football League.

Fylde Council’s development management committee will make a decision on the site in a meeting at Lowther Pavilion, Lytham, on Wednesday from 10am.