Plans for a £9.7million sports hub, café, football pitches and pedestrian access routes for Preston’s Ashton Park will now be submitted for planning approval by Eric Wright Construction on behalf of Preston City Council following a report that was approved by full December Council.
The facility will include six grass pitches, a 3G sports pitch and is part of the city’s Active Preston project, designed to encourage more people in the city to participate in healthy activities and improve the wellbeing of Preston residents. It will enable thousands of young people year-round access to both natural and all-weather sport facilities and improve the local provision for playing grassroots sports.
The development will be funded by a £9.5million contribution from the £20m of Levelling Up funding which was awarded to the Council earlier in the year, having pledged to create improved sports facilities as part of the local bid.
Eric Wright Construction has been appointed to design and construct the facility and work is planned to commence on site in summer 2024 targeting completion by late summer 2025.
The scheme includes the design and construction of a two storey 1,395 sq m sports hub building, which will comprise a reception area for community use, changing facilities and café on the ground floor with admin offices, meeting rooms and classrooms on the first floor together with a studio and games room.
Eric Wright Construction will also undertake the demolition of the existing changing facility which is no longer fit for purpose, widening of the access road off Pedders Lane and creating enhanced access and car parking including electric vehicle charging provision.
Alongside the 3G pitch, the new facilities will include six grass pitches. Various footpaths will be introduced across the park which will improve pedestrian access, accessibility for wheelchair users and connectivity. The scheme will also include significant soft landscaping including the planting of shrubs and trees to promote and enhance the local ecology.
Councillor Freddie Bailey, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety said, “This investment won’t just improve the park, it will transform the area. Subject to planning permission being secured, we are creating a brand new, publicly-owned community hub that will deliver a range of services and improve the quality of life for local residents, grassroots sports clubs and the wider Preston community.”
James Eager, director of Eric Wright Construction added: “We are really proud to have been appointed to bring forward this super sports facility in our hometown of Preston. It will be a superb asset for the city helping to improve the health of the community and we are looking forward to making a start on site once planning is secured.
“The new facilities will enable youngsters to play various sports all year round, accommodate class-based learning and activities whilst improving fitness, health and well-being as well as the ability to compete and be eligible for competitions.”
Preston-based Cassidy + Ashton is the appointed architect and town planner on the project. Director and architect Lawrence McBurney said: “Sport plays a vital role in the health of adults and children and this new facility will provide first class facilities for the local community.
“Working alongside a team of consultants, we have designed a building and external space that will bring new energy to the park that has been underused for many years due to the poor ground conditions.”