Housing could replace tennis courts and a council depot at a popular park in Preston.
If plans, which are at initial stages, ultimately get the green light, the council-owned sites on Moor Park Avenue could be ‘disposed’ of for a housing scheme.
According to a report which came before Preston City Council’s (PCC) cabinet this week, the “principle of releasing both sites for residential development was approved” at a council meeting in October, in an item which was discussed behind closed doors.
The report also indicates that the tennis courts will be “re-provided“ elsewhere - although it is not clear where, or if the report refers to a sports area next to the Jeremiah Horrocks Observatory in Moor Park.
A multi-use games area near the observatory has been enhanced recently and also provides a space where people can play tennis among other sports.
However, the proposals outlined are yet to go through various planning processes.
The two sites are subject to an offer of grant funding from Homes England under the Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC) programme.
If proposals get the go-ahead, the cash would be ring-fenced for spending on open space and sports facilities, with a minimum of 65 per cent to be invested into Moor Park.
According to the report: “The tennis courts were associated with Moor Park’s leisure offer but have been in a poor condition for a number of years.
“The site accommodates four tennis courts and one multi-use games area, but currently only one tennis court is deemed safe to play on. The security fencing surrounding the site is also in poor condition.
“Alternative provision for tennis courts is being provided elsewhere within Moor Park and in addition the Lawn Tennis Association and Sport England are requesting that capital receipts from the disposal of the site will be used towards further enhanced tennis facilities.”
Meanwhile, the council depot off Moor Park Avenue would be shut with staff and equipment relocated to another depot in Argyll Road, about 10 minutes drive away. The same document also says: “The re-provision of tennis courts elsewhere will ensure the longer term continuity of this use.
“The development of the sites for residential use will provide much-needed residential accommodation in this area, including the provision of affordable housing in accordance with the council’s planning policy.
“The release of these sites for development will generate a capital receipt that will be reinvested in parks, open space and sports facilities which will significantly improve this offer. The operation of the parks maintenance service will not be unduly impacted on by its relocation to the main Argyll Road depot which is only a short distance away.”
The decision which was approved at cabinet was an administratitive one, to move the two sites from the council’s Parks and Open Spaces portfolio to the Investment Property portfolio in readiness for their disposal.
When the Post approached the council for further details on the scheme a spokesman said: “As most of the detail of this proposal are below the line we cannot comment further at this time.
"As with any development, it would be subject to planning permission, so we can’t give any specific details.”