Fans get their say on Blackpool FC elite training ground plans

Blackpool FC's proposals for a new training ground got the seal of approval from fans attending the first of three consultation events ahead of plans being submitted later this year.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 11:10 am

The scheme to redevelop a 100 acre site accessed from Steeton Road in Grange Park was first revealed in May, with a planning application expected to be submitted to both Blackpool and Wyre councils this autumn.

No time frame has been put on how long it will take to develop the land which is one of two investments totalling between £30m and £40m currently in the pipeline from club owner Simon Sadler.

Plans to replace the East Stand at the Bloomfield Road stadium and build the Revoe Sports Village are also expected to be submitted to Blackpool Council in coming weeks.

Artist's impression of Blackpool FC training ground

Blackpool FC chief executive Ben Mansford said it "had taken a lot of time and effort to find our preferred site and we have got that."

He said work had been ongoing with both councils and teams of experts "to take forward exciting proposals for the club and the town."

He added: "The scheme represents a very substantial investment from the owner. The capital investment for this scheme and the East Stand scheme is between £30m and £40m.

"Owner Simon Sadler deserves huge credit for making these two investments at the same time, for the football infrastructure and here at Bloomfield Road in something which will regenerate this area."

A map of the proposed site

The proposals, which will replace the current Squires Gate training ground, are for an elite training centre which will not be open to the public.

If planning permission is granted, it will include eight full-size training pitches, a half-size indoor pitch, a smaller nine-a-side pitch, two smaller goalkeeper training spaces and a new, eco-friendly training centre with classrooms, medical areas, office space and a gym.

Access is proposed from Steeton Road which will "minimise additional highways work" according to consultation documents, which add the club has carried out traffic surveys showing "the proposals will not have any significant impact on local traffic and transport."

The plans also include retaining greenery on the site, which backs onto Baines School in Poulton, with public footpaths remaining open.

Fan John Bailie chats to a member of the club's planning team at the consultation event

Members of the public who attended a consultation event on Tuesday July 26 at Bloomfield Road welcomed the plans, but called for wildlife to be protected.

Poulton resident and season ticket holder Stephen Clancy said: "I'm impressed by the plans, and the old facilities should have been demolished years ago.

"But I think they need to make better use of the public access, perhaps by widening the paths so they can be used as cycleways, and they need to consider dog walkers who use those paths."

Blackpool fan John Bailie, from Poulton, said: "I want to see the club progress onwards and upwards and part of that is getting new training facilities.

"But I am concerned about protecting the environment as I'm aware of wildlife areas, ponds, hedgerows etc on the land and I hope they are not going to be compromised."

Consultation documents say "all habitats have been considered", and non-playing surfaces "will be enhanced to encourage insects and small mammals back into the environment".

Proposals also include wetland habitat creation and significant ‘re-wilding’ in the fields to the east of the site.

Further consultation events take place on Friday July 29 (3pm – 8pm) at Poulton Community Hall; and Tuesday August 2 (2.30pm – 7.30pm) at @ The Grange.

Consultation runs until August 5 and the plans can be viewed at: www.blackpoolfcconsultation.co.uk