Wigan set to submit plans for golf club

An artist's impression of Wigan Athletic's new plans for the former Charnock Richard Golf Club.
An artist's impression of Wigan Athletic's new plans for the former Charnock Richard Golf Club.

Championship football club Wigan Athletic will submit plans for a multi-million pound new training complex in Chorley within weeks.

It has been described as the club’s “most exciting project” since launching the JJB Stadium 15 years ago.

Latics’ multi-millionaire owner Dave Whelan bought Charnock Richard Golf Club last summer with the intention of turning it into the new facility for its first team and academy.

Original plans for it to be built on green belt land in nearby Wrightington – which sparked a masive local protest campaign – were scrapped.

Now the club is preparing its golf club redevelopment plans which it will send to Chorley Council.

It has organised a public exhibition at Charnock Richard Football Club, Charter Lane, today between 2pm and 9pm.

Plans include outdoor pitches, a floodlit artificial pitch, a threequarter-sized indoor pitch, amenity facilities and classrooms for academy players and parents.

The plans will be on show at the exhibition and club representatives be available for residents to speak to.

Wigan, who won the FA Cup last season, says the proposals are designed to meet Premier League and Football League requirements of the for a Category 1 academy.

Current training facilities at Christopher Park at Standish Lower Ground are not suitable because the site is too small.

It considered locating the training facilities for its professionals and the academy on separate sites, but Charnock Richard Golf Course is large enough to provide all the facilities required.

Chief executive Jonathan Jackson said: “This is the most exciting project the club has been involved in since the building of the JJB Stadium (now DW Stadium) in 1999.

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

But Wigan has been accused of scoring an own goal with the public exhibition by not giving enough notice.

John Taylor, chairman of Charnock Richard Parish Council, said: “I seriously question the sincerity of the company in holding a public exhibition when they have given the public of Charnock Richard so little advance notice.”

Lancashire County councillor for the area, Steve Holgate said: “I think we’ve got a bit of a problem with communication here. This only serves to make people very, very nervous an that’s not a good thing. The first port of call is to consult properly with the parish council and members of the community.”

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said he was disappointed Wigan had not formally contacted him about proposals.

He added; “I respect the views of the residents who live in the area.

“It’s also about what Wigan are putting into the community and how it’s going to benefit the community.”