Plans for massive Central Park moving forward

A map of Central Park, which will run as a green spine through South Ribble
A map of Central Park, which will run as a green spine through South Ribble

A masterplan packed with exciting ideas to create a huge new park in South Ribble is now being developed.

The Guardian has been given an advanced insight into the types of proposals planned for Central Park, which South Ribble Council intends to establish over the next 15 years.

The open space, which will be much bigger than the borough’s three existing Green Flag-winning parks put together, will run as a green spine from Todd Lane North in Lostock Hall, along the old railway line past the Vernon Carus site in Penwortham, and will take in the old tram road and flood plains near the River Ribble to the south of Preston.

A company called Capita is currently working on the council’s behalf to prepare a masterplan, and this week, members of the public will be asked to have their say on what features they would like to see in the park.

Capita’s view is to split the area into three ‘zones’ and suggestions for what could be incorporated into each section has formed part of the early stages of the plan.

A ‘calm zone’ could include picnic areas, boating lakes and climbing walls; an ‘active zone’ would be ideal for mountain bike tracks, play areas, exercise facilities and a cafe; and a ‘liberation zone’ would celebrate the site’s heritage, with potential sculptures and viewing platforms.

The old steam engines site would be remembered throughout the park, according to the draft plan, and reconstructing a section of the old tram road could also be on the cards.

A number of other ideas are being put before the public to gauge their reactions. As well as usual things such as play areas and sports pitches, people are being asked if they would like to see:

- Entrance gateways

- Trim trails and jogging routes

- An outdoor gym

- Horse riding trails with jumps

- Mountain bike trails

- High ropes activities

- Paintball

- A sculpture park

- Visitor farm

- Road train

- Outdoor performance area

- Amphitheatre

Members of the community are being invited to have their say on how they would like Central Park to take shape, both online and in person at a number of events throughout October.

Feedback will be worked into the proposals, before an official consultation on a draft masterplan in January and February next year.

It is hoped that the masterplan can be adopted in March, before formal planning permission is applied for.

People can fill in an online form at or drop in during one of the following events, which all take place between 2.30pm and 7pm:

- Monday, October 6, at Sainsbury’s, Bamber Bridge

- Thursday, October 9, at St Gerard’s Parochial Centre, Brownedge Road, Lostock Hall

- Monday, October 13, at Penwortham Sports and Social Club, Leyland Road, Penwortham

For more on this story, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.