Wigan Athletic hit the net with the planners

editorial image
Share this article

Championship side Wigan Athletic look set to get the go ahead for their new multi-million pound training complex and academy in Chorley.

The club bought Charnock Richard Golf Club, Preston Road, last summer to turn it into the new facility for its first team and academy.

The plans will go before Chorley Council’s development control committee tomorrow - and have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

If it gets the go ahead, the complex - which Wigan says it must have to compete with rival clubs - is expected to be operational by August 2016.

The proposed green belt development has received numerous objections.

However, Wigan Athletic said it was heartened by the levels of support it received for the plans during a “very successful” consultation.

The club has scrapped plans to develop academy facilities at Christopher Park at Standish Lower Ground - also in the green belt - and looked at a number of other sites for its professionals.

But it did not progress the plans and when the golf club site became available, the land was big enough for all the training facilities.

The club says it wants to create good relations with the community.

The development control committee will be told in a report that Wigan would be happy for an element of the community to visit the site when possible.

The club said: “A Christopher Park we have a very good scheme with local schools that allow them to visit in the day time, meet the players and see how a major professional football team operates.

“That proved very popular with schools in the Wigan area and we would be happy to have a similar scheme for schools in Chorley.

“There may be the opportunity for the occasional use of the facilities (eg indoor pitch when we do not require it) and we are happy to speak informally to Charnock Richard Football Club if it is interested in doing that.”

The committee has been recommended to approve full planning permission “subject to the derogation tests of the Habitats Directive being satisfied” and following referral to the Secretary of State.

Wigan’s chief executive Jonathan Jackson has already said: “This is the most exciting project the club has been involved in since the building of the then JJB Stadium, now DW Stadium, in 1999.

“We feel the site is perfect in terms of providing the club with an infrastructure to grow into the future, and provide a Premier League facility for generations to come.”