Holiday park operator Pure Leisure Group has struck a deal with the council allowing it to progress plans to build a golf course with 500 lodges, a 102-bedroom hotel and other facilities on a 67-acre plot near Poulton-le-Fylde.
Fylde Council’s planning committee this week approved an ‘in-principle’ development agreement with Pure Leisure, meaning a planning application can advance. The company submitted an application in April 2019 but it was never determined due to various improvements that needed to be made to the scheme.
Pure Leisure operates 16 holiday parks across the country, and wants to build a flagship golf resort at the site at Larbreck. The scheme, called Larbreck Golf and Leisure Village, would become a “major tourist destination”, according to the developer, creating 85 full-time equivalent jobs and adding up to £2.5m each year to the local economy.
The site is currently uncultivated arable land to the south of the River Wyre, just off the A585 where the £150m Windy Harbour to Skippool improvement programme is underway to create a new bypass.
The site already has extant planning permission for an 18-hole golf course, 40 lodges and a 120-bed hotel, partially implemented by a previous landowner.
Pure Leisure’s scheme would feature a nine-hole golf course with various tee points “providing an 18-hole experience”, with clubhouse, shop and training facilities open to holiday visitors and members of the public.
The course, designed by a member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects, would also be used by students from the nearby Myerscough College undertaking golf course management qualifications.
Meanwhile, the holiday village itself would provide accommodation across 495 lodges and the hotel, as well a two-storey leisure complex housing a 25-metre swimming pool, spa, restaurant, bar, shop and gym.
The village would be accessed from Windy Harbour Road, which would be upgraded to include a pedestrian footpath, according to the plans drawn up by Pure Leisure’s planning advisor De Pol Associates.
In its submission to Fylde Council to progress an application for the scheme, it argued that the scheme “demonstrates the economic benefits of enhancing the rural tourism offer at a time when staycations are likely to be on the rise”, and said it “presents a considered approach to the development of the site which, as a ‘large scale development of a tourist attraction’, is acceptable within this countryside location under Policy GD4 of the Fylde Local Plan.”
Council planning officers recommended that the committee approves the principle of development, but delegates final approval to officers subject to further impact assessments and discussion over various elements of the scheme and conditions.
Alexis De Pol, managing director of De Pol Associates, said: “The decision is a really exciting step forward for the creation of a major tourist destination that will bring both economic benefits and additional recreational amenities to this area.
“The size, nature and complexity of the proposal has required significant liaison with statutory consultees, experts and council officers, and we appreciate the council’s preference to delegate approval now that the principle of development has been agreed.”
He added: “We have worked very closely with a variety of specialists to ensure the development will be sustainable and, crucially, ecologically friendly. Extensive surveys and assessments have been done to understand the biodiversity that exists in this area and mitigation put in place to protect key natural habitats.
“The end result is an improved proposition that will meet the necessary regulatory principles and provide our client with an exceptional flagship development attracting thousands of visitors every year and providing a considerable boost to the local economy.”
Pure Leisure also operates the Fell End Leisure Village in South Lakes, Cumbria, which has its own 24-acre nature reserve.
The company’s founder John Morphet said: “We are pleased that the detailed work undertaken so far has provided the reassurance needed for the proposal to be accepted and the principle agreed, and grateful to Fylde Borough Council and all consultees for their time and consideration on the matter so far.
“We are committed to working through the outstanding elements with officers to ensure this really is a development of the very highest quality that will be enjoyed by visitors and the local community alike and provide for the preservation of important biodiversity provision in and around the site.”
Preston’s MCK Associates provided architectural and design support.