The start of building work on an £18m stadium and retail project is just one step away after the scheme was referred to national planners.
Outline plans for a floodlit football stadium – the new home of ambitious AFC Fylde – as well as food store, petrol station, warehouse and pub in Fleetwood Road, Wesham, were passed by Fylde Council in June.
But due to the size of the project, a final ruling will be made on the plans by the Secretary of State Eric Pickles’ National Planning Unit (NPU) in the coming weeks.
David Haythornthwaite, chairman of AFC Fylde and Mill Farm Ventures, the company behind the project, said he welcomed the latest development – and said he was confident the scheme would get the go-ahead.
He added: “It seems like an age since June but there have been a lot of issues to sort out and although it has been a long and protracted process we are finally there. We are all obviously very pleased.
“This can still go wrong and the NPU could decide to call the development in, but we are confident we have prepared this properly and we will get the green light.”
The project moved forward on Friday after Fylde Council planners agreed to certain legal aspects and financial contributions as part of section 106, or planning obligations.
The scale of the plans had met some opposition from residents, who set up a campaign group called Save Wesham and Kirkham, but James French, chief executive of Mill Farm Ventures, claimed a recent opinion poll had shown support for the project.
He added: “Our supporters and in fact most of the people in the local area – an independent survey in May showed 68 per cent were in favour of the development – want this development to start as soon as possible.
“Not only will the development bring a new home for AFC Fylde but also among other things a new Aldi store, petrol station, restaurants and a hotel.
“People are really excited about this as currently they have little or no choice at the moment than to drive long distances for basic necessities.
“Should the application get the thumbs up from the NPU then the development will start immediately.
“A local building firm was appointed in September as the main contractor and they will be unveiled next week.”