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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Cricket club targets expansion with land purchase

A Preston-based cricket club has unveiled ambitious plans to create a new ground next to its existing facility after reaching an agreement to purchase the land from the government.

Fulwood and Broughton Cricket Club, based at Highfield, Garstang Road, will purchase over six acres of land from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), providing it can raise £70,000.

The additional land will allow the club to create a new larger pitch for its first and second teams to play on, while its third team, currently playing on a borrowed pitch at Warton, will get to play regularly at the club for the first time ever. 

Having two pitches means the club will also have more space for training and net practice sessions, allowing it to expand its nine junior teams.

Preston law firm Harrison Drury is advising the club on its dealings with the HCA and will assist the club’s fundraising efforts.

The total cost of the project is around £500,000 as signifcant groundworks and drainage will be required. The changing facilities will be extended and extra parking factilites created.  These ambitious plans have been matched by success on the pitch, where the first team will play in the Northern Premier League for the first time in 2018.

John Mansford, club treasurer, said: “Our third team are playing their games over on the Fylde coast on a hired pitch. The ground we do have is relatively small and therefore gets very crowded on training nights, limiting the number of youngsters who can practice safely. 

“We already have 150 juniors coming to practice with us on Friday nights during the summer and we want more young people, both boys and girls, to come and play cricket with us so we can help fulfil the recreational needs of the ever-expanding local community. Getting this extra space will transform the whole club.”

Simon England, director at Harrison Drury, said: “We’ve advised the club on an option agreement with the HCA meaning they only agree to purchase the land subject to raising the required funds. We’ll be offering what support we can to help the club make its vision a reality.”

John added: “If all goes according to plan, we hope to complete the purchase in time for the spring, which means we could be playing on the new pitch in two or three years’ time. A lot of groundwork will be needed so we’ll be applying for grant funding from the ECB and other sources to try and make that happen.” 

Fulwood and Broughton Cricket Club was established in 1909, when it won the Palace Shield at the first time of asking, though the club can trace its history back further than this to around 1900.

 When it first started, the club played its matches within the grounds of Fulwood Barracks, but moved to Highfield in 1932. The land at Highfield was used as a paddock for Broughton Lodge before the club moved there.

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