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£5m sports facility could still go ahead


Hugh McAuley, owner of the land south of Altcar Road, Formby was left in a state of disbelief after hearing back in March that his land was the ONLY site to be left out of Sefton Council’s Local Plan but, two weeks ago, the good news emerged that the planning Inspectorate has in fact now decided to reconsider the proposal.

It is well known that Hugh McAuley, working with St Modwen, had been looking to develop this site, with the primary focus being to build a 5 million pound sports facility on the old site of Formby FC. Hugh Mr McAuley is the owner of Formby Play Sports Ltd which at the moment runs a football facility from the land and which has 4 3G astroturf pitches, plus the old Formby FC pitch is used to host games for numerous teams, including Frank Rourke’s Formby Junior Sports Club. Up until recently Hugh McAuley had solely funded this venture, however, to move the sports facility up to the next level in terms of quality and range of facilities he took the decision to team up with one the Uk’s leading developers, St. Modwen Plc.

Hugh McAuley purchased the site back in 2010 and has since worked hard to push the site forward in the hope its full and obvious potential could be unlocked. Back in 2010 Formby’s local football team, ‘The Squirrels,’ played from at the Altcar Road site. However, in 2013 the pitches failed the ground grading and Formby FC were disappointedly forced to up sticks and move to Burscough. Since then the club has ceased to exist. This is another driver behind Hugh McAuley’s attempts to develop the sports scheme as it provides the potential to bring the ‘Squirrels’ back to their historic and rightful home!!

Up to now Formby Play Sports Ltd and its related facility is very much associated with football. However, this would be the tip of the iceberg as it was proposed that once the proposed sports development is completed it would provide:

2 x 11 aside 3G astroturf pitches

4 x 6 aside indoor pitches and 1 futsal pitch

there will facilities to play

rugby

netball

volleyball

short tennis

badminton

trampolining and free running

skate & scooter park

soft play centre

A sensory room

dance and aerobic studio

boxing and martial arts area

fitness and personal training suite

Sports club house

Hugh McAuley has asked that any suggestions from the community, both old AND young, on what the facility could provide should be emailed to him at: hugh130576@gmail.com and he will be happy to try and accommodate them - after all the sports facility is there solely for the benefit of the community.

Sefton Council’s Local Plan only comes around once every 15 years, and the plan put forward a number of sites and development area in the Borough for both residential and employment development.

The plan still has a way to go but, a step in the right direction will make many Formby residents very happy indeed. We will have to wait for the meeting on 1st november to find out more.

Hugh says "It's good news that the Planning Inspectorate has decided to reconsider the joint proposal. Thousands of people in Formby are behind our plans to redevelop the land, south of Altcar Road, into sports facilities for both current and future generations. We believe the site, all enabled through a major new employment park plus some retailing and leisure uses, will make a huge difference to the quality of people's lives."

"We've worked hard to get to this point. During the recent consultation period we were able to demonstrate the support for the development fronm the community in Formby village, and now hope that the plans are given the go-ahead."

Will Martin, planning manager for St. Mowden - North West, said:

"We'd like to thank all the members of the local community who have expressed their support for this development. As evidenced by the comments, the scheme has many benefits; economic benefits and employment and job creation; football club facilities; sports and leisure facilities with young people stating that the scheme will benefit all ages of the community and we could not agree more. All of this support along with technical evidence, will now be reconsidered by the Planning Inspectorate."

"This proposal offers a chance to provide a facility which can bring real benefit to the community of Formby and surrounding areas and also encourage health and wellbeing for generations to come."

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