Kick-off for football club’s stadium dream

AFC Fylde stadium under construction at Mill Farm, Wesham
AFC Fylde stadium under construction at Mill Farm, Wesham
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The first metal work as part of a major stadium project is now in place as construction continues on an £18m retail development.

More than 300 tonnes of steel will be erected on Mill Farm in Wesham as the main stand is built to form part of the new home for football club AFC Fylde.

The stadium, which will have a 6,000 capacity, is part of a major development off Fleetwood Road which is set to include a food store and pub.

A spokesman for AFC Fylde said the framework should be completed by November.

He added: “The first deliveries of steel for the main stand have arrived and are being installed and a total of 340 tonnes of steel will be delivered and erected over the coming weeks.

“The West stand is the flagship of the complex and it will take seven weeks to erect the steel framework, which at its highest point will be 18m.

“Foundation work has also begun on the East Stand ahead of that steel work being erected.

“Elsewhere on site, all the main drainage is now completed and the final section of the spine road is being built up ready for surfacing in a fortnight.”

Conference North club AFC Fylde are currently based at Kellamergh Park close to Warton. Club owner and chairman David Haythornthwaite had previously applied for permission in 2012 to build Greenlands Sports Village in Wrea Green, but the plans, which included a 2,500 seater stadium, were defeated by a majority of 15-1 by Fylde Council’s planning committee.

In 2013, Mr Haythornthwaite announced he had secured a new site for the club to move to – with Mill Farm targeted for development.

Fylde Council passed plans for a floodlit football stadium, as well as a food store, petrol station, warehouse and pub last year.

Builders from Warden Construction have been on site for several months preparing the land for development – with work including site access and drainage.

The Coasters hope to move into the stadium in time for the 2016/17 football season.

Speaking earlier this year at a ground-breaking ceremony, Mr Haythornthwaite said the development would be a big boost for the club and the community.

He added: “It has been a long time coming. It has taken four or five years.

“As I have said from day one it is not just a great day for AFC Fylde but people of the Fylde coast. The facilities we will provide on this site are going to be fantastic.”

Club president Dai Davis added: “It is fantastic for the area and people of Kirkham because during the day these facilities will be used by the community and local schools.

“It is going to be a great facility.”

The project had met some opposition from residents in Kirkham and Wesham concerned about the size and scale of the development.

But the office of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, rubber-stamped the proposals earlier this year, with legal documents signed by Fylde Council planners in February.