From furniture to indoor football...

A planning application to convert the former MFI building into an indoor 5-a-side soccer venue has been submitted.
A planning application to convert the former MFI building into an indoor 5-a-side soccer venue has been submitted.
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Plans to transform a former furniture store into an indoor football centre have been revealed.

If the proposal goes ahead it will see the building on Vicarage Lane, Marton, which was previously occupied by MFI, turned into four five-a-side football pitches.

DW Fitness, which already operates a gym in the next door premises, has applied to Blackpool Council seeking planning permission for the scheme which could cost in the region of £250,000.

It is hoped the new facility could be up and running in time for Christmas. Up to 15 new jobs could be created.

A design brief accompanying the application says: “It represents an opportunity in challenging economic circumstances to bring the site back into productive use, create jobs, make more efficient use of the land and enhance the appearance of the area, as well as encouraging health and fitness.”

DW Fitness opened a gym in the former Focus DIY store in 2011 after taking over the site when both Focus and MFI closed down.

Despite marketing the MFI building for the past two years, no potential tenants have come forward.

The company, which is owned by Wigan Football Club chairman Dave Whelan, previously ran five soccer centres around the country but these were sold and subsequently became Powerleague premises.

Clifton councillor Joan Greenhalgh, whose ward includes the site, welcomed the plans for an indoor facility in Blackpool.

She said: “I think it’s a great idea because it will encourage more people to keep active.

“I have a grandson who is mad on football so I think there would definitely be 
demand for it, and it would be something for youngsters to get involved in.

“Also, that building has been empty for quite some time and it would be nice to see it being brought back into use.

“I hope the planning committee will approve the application.”

As well as the playing pitches, the scheme would include changing rooms and showers, a lounge with catering facilities, a manager’s office and staff room.

The centre would operate seven days a week, between 10.30am and 9.30pm and could accommodate up to 50 people at full capacity.

There are currently five five-a-side football facilities in Blackpool.

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