Lancashire Cricket’s planning application for a new venue that can host community and elite sport has been approved in principle by Lancashire County Council.
The proposed development would be located on a site in the village of Farington that is owned by the council. Plans were approved by the council’s development control committee during a meeting held yesterday (Wednesday).
The application will now need to be referred to the Secretary of State for consideration before any planning permission can be granted, which is normal practice when proposals would affect the green belt.
Lancashire Cricket first unveiled plans for the new venue during TheStadiumBusiness Summit in 2021, which was held at the club’s Emirates Old Trafford stadium. The aim is to establish a new year-round facility that can host a number of men’s and women’s matches as an alternative to Emirates Old Trafford.
The venue would also serve as a training base for Lancashire’s men’s and women’s teams, from age-group level up to the first team. The current out grounds will still be used once the new facility has opened.
Lancashire Cricket said the proposals have been “sensitively and carefully designed” so the green setting can endure long-term, and the amenity of neighbouring residents is protected. New tree planting, landscaping and green spaces will provide a backdrop for the venue.
The club hopes the facility can serve as a Centre of Excellence for women’s cricket in the North-West region. The facility would also be made available to local cricket clubs and schools.
The venue would support additional health and wellbeing opportunities through active participation in sport and assist the Lancashire Cricket Foundation in delivering nationwide cricket programmes. The project will tie in with the club’s ambition to deliver a Lancashire Cricket experience at 1,000 state schools across England by 2030.
Andy Anson, chair at Lancashire Cricket, said: “We’ve been working with the county council on this exciting project for some time now and the new development will provide fantastic elite facilities for both our men’s and women’s squads, as well as for recreational cricket and wider community use.
“With the number of international and domestic cricket matches, as well as other events, being held at Emirates Old Trafford, the need for a second ground has become vital. The development will be a first of its kind in domestic cricket and we look forward to seeing work start on the site over the course of the year. We will keep our members and supporters updated on its progress. I would like to personally thank the county council for their support.”
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, leader of Lancashire County Council, added: “This is an exciting time for this fantastic project with the approval of the planning permission in principle for a first-class cricket ground in the heart of Lancashire.
“We’re proud to be working with Lancashire Cricket to bring this elite cricket facility to the county. We now await the Secretary of State’s decision on this project. As well as providing new jobs and a significant boost to our economy creating these fantastic facilities will support recreational cricket as we encourage more people to take part in and enjoy the sport as well as wider community use.”