Plans to upgrade Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre
South Ribble Borough Council has approved plans to upgrade Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre in a major boost to sport in the borough.
The scheme was granted planning permission on Wednesday 13 January having initially been approved by Cabinet last October.
It will see two new artificial grass pitches installed at the Council-owned facility on Brindle Road along with a new sports pavilion to complement the new and current facilities on site.
Car parking will also be expanded to meet increased demand while Brindle Road junction is to be re-modelled and improved.
Councillor Mick Titherington, Deputy Leader of South Ribble Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure, said: "This is great news for sports lovers in South Ribble.
"It's important our local clubs have access to top class facilities and upgrading Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre will ensure more adults and children are able to stay active by participating in team sports.
"This is an important part of our Sports and Leisure Strategy 'More People More Active', which aims to open up facilities and extend opportunities for more people to get involved in activities of their choice and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
"This is an exciting project and will be a fantastic community asset."
The new artificial pitches are expected to be delivered around December 2021 with all accompanying works being completed around January 2022. An application was formally submitted to the Football Foundation last Friday (15 January) to secure additional funding for the project.
A combined £1bn is to be invested into football facilities over the next decade as part of the National Football Facilities Strategy (NFFS). NFFS targets include 1,000 new 3G pitches and 1,000 new pavilions in priority areas across the country.
Some 244 football teams play on formal pitches in South Ribble - including 48 adult teams, 60 youth teams and 136 mini-mixed teams. However, there are currently just five full-sized artificial pitches in the borough and only two available on weekends.
The creation of the two new 3G pitches will help tackle increasing demand while helping to maintain existing grass pitches from overuse.
Each pitch will be 110m x 72m and be capable of being divided into two further sections by netting. The pitches will be surrounded by a 4.5m-high green weldmesh fence and will be made suitable for evening use with the installation of twelve 15-metre high floodlights, which will be fitted with cowled lamps to reduce upward light and overspill.
At least one of the new artificial pitches will also be suitable for rugby, with shock pads to meet head impact criteria.
Changing facilities will be provided as part of a new fully accessible single-story sports pavilion to be built to the south west of the existing Leisure Centre, serving both the new artificial pitches and the Withy Grove play area.
It will include four new team changing rooms with showers and separate disability accessible changing facilities as well as a changing room for officials.
The 3G pitches and the play area will both be visible from a spectator canopy, while the pavilion will also boast a social room with a small kitchen as well as a number of storage rooms.
The existing Leisure Centre car park is to be extended to the south to provide an additional 77 car spaces - taking the total to 206, including 10 disabled spaces - and eight of these spaces will include electric vehicle charging facilities. Two minibus spaces and two coach lay-bys will also be created along with 12 cycle hoops accommodating 24 cycles.
The works will not affect the existing Leisure Centre building, although the current skatepark will be slightly remodelled to accommodate the new 3G pitches.