Taking sides on bid for stadium

Artist's impression of the sports village at Wrea Green

Artist's impression of the sports village at Wrea Green

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ANGRY village residents are gearing up for a second fight against plans to tear up the countryside to make way for a football stadium.

The Haythornthwaite Sports Foundation (HSF) has renewed its bid to build a new 2,500-capacity ground for AFC Fylde on the outskirts of picturesque Wrea Green.

Residents and councillors vehemently opposed the plans when they were first submitted last year – before being withdrawn because of highways issues in January – and are now preparing to fight the application again.

The £10m vision for the site, known as the Greenlands Sports Village, also includes an artificial floodlit pitch, four grass pitches, a football pavilion, jogging trail and a floodlit artificial hockey ground.

But local residents said the stadium is being built in the wrong location.

Wrea Green councillor Frank Andrews added: “The stadium is in the wrong place. It is primarily for Kirkham football club – AFC Fylde – and it really should be in Kirkham.

“Wrea Green is not the place for a major football stadium and the people in Wrea Green don’t want to be forced to have one here.”

Coun Andrews added that major concerns about traffic problems surrounding the facility remained, despite the HSF stating further discussions had been held with the highways authority with a view to “overcoming initial concerns”.

One of the major changes to the newly submitted application is the addition of the hockey pitch, which replaces cricket facilities in the initial proposal.

John Rowson, from the Save Wrea Green Action Group (SWAG), said: “We are disturbed HSF have resurrected this application with so little change from a residents’ perspective.

“On the last application local residents voted, in a referendum, overwhelmingly against this development and we can’t see that this will have changed.

“It is too close to homes, will be too disruptive and is not sustainable. The ‘community’ facilities are predominately for Kirkham and Wesham – not for this community.”

The application is expected to be decided by the end of the year.

Nobody from HSF was available for comment.