An £18m stadium and retail project is set to be reviewed by the Secretary of State amid claims a residents’ action group has attempted to delay the development.
Outline plans for a floodlit football stadium for AFC Fylde, as well as food store, petrol station, warehouse and pub in Fleetwood Road, Wesham, were passed by Fylde Council in June.
James French, chief exectutive of Mill Farm Ventures, the company behind the project, said it was normal for an application of its size to be reviewed by the office of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, but raised concerns the project was “threatened” by local councillors opposed to the project.
He added: “It (the project) will create much-needed employment for the area during the construction of the project and beyond, but could be threatened if the project is delayed by the continued objections of local councillors.
“The scheme will enable the successful local club AFC Fylde to progress through the leagues, and it is disappointing that a small number of local councillors are refusing to work with us.”
But Wesham Coun Linda Nulty, who lives near the planned site, said the project was being delayed as planning issues were still to be resolved, including an ecological agreement between Mill Farm and Lancashire County Council. She added other issues, including bus stops and pedestrian crossings as part of section 106, or planning obligations, were still to be agreed with Fylde Council.
Wesham Coun Linda Nulty said: “The reason this development is unable go ahead at this moment is that there is no valid planning permission in place due to section 106 agreements still to be resolved with Fylde Council’s planning department and ecological issues to be resolved to the satisfaction of Lancashire County Council. “This was part of the resolution on the day the application was heard. It is true that the residents action group, Save Wesham and Kirkham (SWAK), which I attend as one of the closest residents but do not lead, is following up various matters through the correct planning process as we are quite entitled to do. We also believe that the developer is now challenging some of the conditions which the council has set and this process will also delay the completion of the legal requirements. This is all in the hands of Fylde Council at this time but it is normal practice for applications of this size and type to be referred to the Secretary of State.”