Penwortham sports hub plans take significant step as Cabinet approves land transfer

Source: South Ribble Borough Council 16 September 2021

A vision of a top-class sports and community hub in Penwortham has taken a step closer to reality – with Cabinet Members approving a proposal for the transfer of more than 18 acres of land to South Ribble Borough Council.

The Council will also receive up to £650,000 for the upkeep of the land, which includes the Vernon Carus Sports Club and Penwortham Reservoir.

A sum of £150,000 is being set aside for the refurbishment of the existing Sports Club facilities, with an additional £25,000 to be invested from the Council’s leisure budget.

Other medium and long-term options for the site are currently being explored, with a draft masterplan recently submitted to Cabinet.

Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets, said: “The transfer of this land to Council ownership presents an incredible opportunity to deliver a truly top-class sports and community hub for the people of South Ribble.

“The sum of money received will also ensure the land is properly maintained for years to come. All in all, this is a fantastic deal for South Ribble and we can now look forward to planning an exciting future for the site.”

Following the transfer of ownership from Lane End Developments Construction Ltd, the Council will work in partnership with Vernon Carus Sports Club on refurbishment plans for the current clubhouse and cricket scorebox.

A further phased development of the area north of Factory Lane could include additional sports facilities such as a new BMX track along with upgrades to the Boxing Club and bowling green. A garden and picnic area has also been proposed while parking would be expanded and improved.

Longer-term, there is the potential for the current Sports Club building to be replaced by a new state-of-the-art sports pavilion and changing rooms.

Meanwhile, it is proposed that the reservoir footpath be upgraded and new picnic areas and viewing points with benches installed – as well as storage space for water sports equipment.

Councillor Mick Titherington, Deputy Leader of South Ribble Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: 

“The potential for Vernon Carus Sports Club and the surrounding area is absolutely enormous.

“As a Council, we want to get ‘More People, More Active’ and encourage our residents to ‘Leisure Local’ – and key to those aims is providing access to the very best facilities.

“We’re already well on the way to delivering a fabulous Playing Pitch Hub for football in Bamber Bridge, and this is yet another perfect example of how we are determined to invest in sports and leisure across the borough.

“This was simply an opportunity too good to be missed and I can’t wait to see our exciting plans start to take shape.”

The transfer of land to the north of Factory Lane extends to 4.6 hectares (11.42 acres) and includes the Vernon Carus Sports and Social Club House together with recreational land comprising of football and cricket pitches, a bowling green and pavilion, a boxing/fitness gym and several surfaced car parks.

Penwortham Reservoir covers a surface area of 2.33 hectares (5.76 acres) and only last year benefited from improvement works funded by Lane End Developments Construction Ltd.

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