Sports village could be built on site of Holland Gardening Centre

A multi-million pound sports and leisure village could be built in Bromley Cross.

In a letter to residents yesterday, developers announced ambitious plans that would include all-weather pitches, a gym and car parking, as well as an Aldi supermarket and a restaurant.

Bromley Cross Developments Ltd says it has earmarked 27 acres of land at the Holland Gardening Centre site in Darwen Road ? and it is understood the firm is in ?advanced talks? with owners to buy the site.

A planning application is yet to be submitted as bosses say they want to work with residents to help shape the plans.

Local schools would also be given access to the facilities, developers say.

A public exhibition will be held at the garden centre next week when people can air their views on the project.

A spokesman for Bromley Cross Developments Ltd said: ?Our plans provide an opportunity for the development of a top quality sports and recreational facility for Bromley Cross and the wider Bolton area.

?It will breathe new life into the gardening centre site and our plans will transform the currently under-used piece of land into a community hub for local schools, sports teams and residents to enjoy.

John Kernick, aged 73, of Lower House Walk, close to the development site, said: ?If the plans are genuine then I think it will be a good thing for the area.

?The kids round here need the facilities and I wouldn?t object to the Aldi or the restaurant ? I think the car park will be useful too ? but I would like to know more about the developers.?

Kevan Hallmark, of Darwen Road, said: ?It is supposed to be left as green belt land but instead this is what we are getting.

?There will be lots more traffic and I don?t think we need this many sports facilities ? I am completely against it.?

It is understood that bosses behind the project have a development background.

Mick Greenwood, joint owner of Holland Garden Centre, said the garden centre closed down three weeks ago to allow for work to start on the football pitches.

He added: ?The levels in the back field are being raised so that work on the project can start.

?At the end of the day we have to run this as a business. Not only that but it will benefit lots of children in Bromley Cross.?

Under the plans, a ?sporting centre of excellence? would cover the majority of the site ? with the rest being taken up by an Aldi food store, a restaurant, another retail unit, and a 71-space commuter car park, which would serve Bromley Cross train station.

According to developers, the sports village would comprise of a range of community facilities including both full-sized and junior-sized 3G all-weather pitches alongside a mix of smaller nine-a-side, seven-a-side and five-a-side pitches.

Other planned facilities would include all weather tennis and netball courts, a cricket pitch and a clubhouse with a gym and changing facilities.

It is thought that nearby sports teams and local schools including Canon Slade, Turton High and Birtenshaw would be able to make use of the facilities.

If built, the multi-million pound development would create 150 local jobs, the firm behind the plans said.

The planned restaurant and pub would focus on using ?local produce, home-made food and regional ales?, they added.

Bromley Cross ward councillor David Greenhalgh said: ?We are keen to see the development of future services and facilities that benefit the local community but there are issues with green belt protection and sustainability as well as the impact on the roads and the future of the remaining farmland.?

John Porteus, head teacher of Turton High School, said: ?Any improvement in local sports facilities will certainly be welcome to schools and clubs in this area.?

Turton FC, vice-chairman Dave Yates, added: ?I think this is something that the area has been short of for a while and I think it could be a really good thing.

?We are very open-minded and positive about the plans and are looking forward to having discussions with the developers to see if Turton FC could use the facilities if they are built.?

Bolton Council said it was aware of the proposal.

A spokesman added: ?At this stage we have not received a planning application. If we do, it will be dealt with through our planning processes in the usual way.?

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