BDP’s designs for a new high-quality sports facility in the heart of Lancashire have been approved in principle by the county council.
Led by Lancashire County Council, the proposed development for Lancashire Cricket will bring together elite and community cricket on a site in Farington, near Preston.
The plans, which were recommended for approval by council officers, were approved by the county council's Development Control Committee at its meeting last week
This application will now need to be referred to the Secretary of State for consideration before any planning permission could be granted.
The aim is to establish a new year-round facility, which would host a number of men’s and women’s competitive matches each year, as an alternative to Emirates Old Trafford, and provide a new training base for Lancashire’s men’s and women’s teams, from age-group to first team. The Club has confirmed that the current out grounds will still be utilised once the new facility has opened. These proposals have been sensitively and carefully designed so the green setting endures for the long term, and the amenity of neighbouring residents is protected.
BDP’s design approach minimises the impact of the new interventions and preserves the open, green character of the site, maintaining its mature trees and hedgerows.
Biodiverse grasslands and native species planting, along with more than 200 new trees supplement the landscape setting, creating a naturally-sheltered microclimate for cricket.
The core elements of the project are two pitches – one for first class cricket, one for development and community cricket, anchored by a sensitively and sustainably designed pavilion building.
This new facility will be a Centre of Excellence for women’s cricket in the North-West, further encouraging the growth of cricket in the region. In addition to providing elite training facilities for the Club, it will also be made available to the local community, including for local cricket clubs and schools.
Andrew Capewell, architect director at BDP, said: “At the start of the design process, we were clear on our objective to support the ongoing success of Lancashire Cricket and create additional capacity to nurture talent across the men’s and women’s game.”
“This first-class venue will fulfil the cricketing aspirations and needs of the county, providing a natural space for the sport that preserves the open, green character of the area. We are excited by all of the opportunities this will bring to for local people and to the continued success of cricket in Lancashire.”
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "This is an exciting time for this fantastic project with the approval of the planning permission in principle for a first-class cricket ground in the heart of Lancashire.
"We're proud to be working with Lancashire Cricket to bring this elite cricket facility to the county. We now await the Secretary of State's decision on this project.
The project also aims to increase the education and training opportunities for students across varied age groups. The club has an ambition to deliver a Lancashire Cricket experience into 1,000 state schools across the county by 2030.
Andy Anson OBE, Chair at Lancashire Cricket, added: “We are delighted that the application for the cricket facility at Farington has been supported by the planning committee.
“We’ve been working the county council on this exciting project for some time now, with significant input from BDP and the new development will provide fantastic elite facilities for both our men’s and women’s squads, as well as for recreational cricket and wider community use.
“With the number of international and domestic cricket matches, as well as other events, being held at Emirates Old Trafford, the need for a second ground has become vital. The development will be a first of its kind in domestic cricket and we look forward to seeing work start on the site over the course of the year.”
Owned by the county council, the proposed site in Farington is alongside the A582 Farington Road on the west side of Stanifield Lane, and a short distance from the M65 and M6.
Widespread community consultation took place to develop the plans, as well as with local stakeholders and representatives from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB); cricket's national governing body.
Amendments were made to the proposals to address comments made, in particular to minimise the impact on local residents.