BMX and nature park plans delay

Plans for a nature garden in Lostock Hall
Plans for a nature garden in Lostock Hall

Ambitious plans for a nature garden and cycle track in South Ribble have hit funding delays.

The Lostock Hall Engine Sheds, near the railway station on Watkin Lane, Lostock Hall, have been earmarked for a major regeneration scheme including a wildlife garden, children’s play area and cycle track.

But South Ribble Council has now withdrawn the plans, saying that issues over money are to blame.

Coun Phil Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities at the council, said: “We are still planning to go ahead with this excellent community project, hopefully later this year.

“Unfortunately, as I’m sure everyone is aware, all councils are having to tighten their purse strings and be very careful with their spending plans at the moment.

“We’ve put together a funding package for this scheme, but one of the contributors is a developer who has asked for more time to make their contribution, which has caused the delay.”

He added: “We are also awaiting the results of an ecological study of the site, which is being carried out by a consultant as part of the planning process.

“The project has been identified as a top priority by residents and councillors of the My Neighbourhood Forum for Central Area, and we are looking to allocate funding to take it forward.

“While it’s disappointing there has been a delay, I can assure people that it will be worth the wait.”

The scheme is a partnership between the Christian Calvery Fellowship, which owns the site, South Ribble Council, and Lancashire County Council.

The group wants to create a small wetland area alongside grassland and hedgerows; make observation points in the fencing for the public; and make a children’s ‘WildSpace’ area, with grassy mounds, willow screens, turf mazes and tree trunks.

The scheme will also include a natural play area for children, featuring a labyrinth, willow tunnels and a giant spider sculpture in the centre.

A peace and community garden has also been envisaged, to be designed and managed by local residents and led by the Christian Calvery Church.

The cycle track has been designed by the regeneration team at the council and Shaun Calvert, an ex-world champion cyclist who now lives in Preston.

It is set to be constructed using materials recycled from remedial earthworks carried out in Worden Park.

Aimed at BMX riders, plans also include speed jumps and seating for spectators.

A ‘woodland walk’ will also be created around the site, with signs placed around it to provide information about the area and its industrial heritage.

The site was a service depot for steam engines up until the 1960s, but has remained derelict since then.