Photo Credit | www.sportsandsafetysurfaces.co.uk

The land that is south of Altcar Road in Formby, owned by Hugh McAuley, which was hoped to be turned into a spectacular £5m sports facility for Formby, has now been knocked out of the Local Plan by the Inspector.

The sports facility is there solely for the benefit of the community so it is very sad that this has happened. Over 1,200 residents wrote in to Sefton Council, in favour of the plan last year. The land was the ONLY site to be left out of Sefton Council’s Local Plan at the hearing in March 2015, but, two weeks later, the good news emerged that the planning Inspectorate decided to reconsider the proposal. It is that proposal that has just been heard at the planning meeting and the decision was for it to be removed from the Plan altogether.

A representative of Hugh McAuley said: “The owners of the land are now speaking with Sefton Council regarding a planning application outside of the Local Plan.”

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

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.

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.”

Lets hope that Hugh manages to succeed with this venture and hopefully with so many members of the public behind him, in the end it will go ahead.

 Report courtesy of the Formby Bubble.