Sports village planned for Penwortham to include cricket, football, boxing, bowls, BMX and others

A new "sports village" could be created in Penwortham if council chiefs approve a plan to spend millions on land they have been gifted by a housing developer.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 3:45 pm

The scheme to rejuvenate part of the former Vernon Carus factory site into a centre for a variety of sports goes before South Ribble's cabinet next week.

Plans include refurbishing or rebuilding the current sports clubhouse and cricket scorebox, creating a 4G synthetic sports pitch, two multi-use games areas (MUGA), a new pavilion and shelter for the bowling club and either improving or rebuilding the boxing/fitness facility.

The project will also involve a new BMX track, new football pitches, upgraded car parks and footpaths, a garden and picnic area and improvements around the adjacent Penwortham Reservoir which is also included in the blueprint.

A draft plan for how the sports village could be laid out.

Members of the cabinet will be asked on Wednesday to approve the transfer of the land and reservoir from Lane End Developments Construction Ltd to the council. The land will be free and also comes with £650,000 to pay for its upkeep.

The local authority has already put together a draft masterplan for the whole of the Vernons site and a strategy to provide better sports facilities across the borough in an initiative called Leisure Local.

The sports project is linked to a scheme by Trafford Housing Trust to build hundreds of houses on the rest of the Vernons' site, which will also have a new Lidl store.

A report by officers to the cabinet says the scheme is "an opportunity to take forward the new concept to Leisure Local" put forward in a leisure facilities strategy adopted by the council in October last year.

Some of the outdated facilities which could be upgraded.

It says that if the council does not grasp this opportunity then it would "represent a missed opportunity in terms of developing a local sports and community hub in line with the objectives of the leisure facilities strategy."

The council has "aspirations to develop a multi-functional sports village at Vernon Carus, building on the amenities that already exist on the site.

"The masterplan proposes a phased approach. The first phase will be a refurbishment of the existing club house and changing rooms. This will address safety issues within both buildings and enable the club to generate revenue and be more sustainable.

"It is intended that the scheme of refurbishment will last a period of years until such a time that the existing clubhouse and changing rooms can be replaced with a new build facility.

Vernons sports grounds pictured back in 2003.

"Future phases of the master plan include the creation/upgrade of existing parking facilities; a new structure for the bowling club; a new structure for the boxing/fitness gym; an improved BMX track, and additional playing facilities.

"The masterplan also shows potential for a 4G playing pitch on adjoining Cardinal Newman College land, his would be subject to agreement with the land owner."

The old Vernon Carus factory during demolition.