A FORMER golf course is set to be transformed into a Premier League standard training ground.
Wigan Athletic plan to build the muti-million pound facility on the site of Charnock Richard golf course, which the club purchased last July.
The club, which are the current FA Cup holders and are pressing for a return to the top flight via the Championship play-offs, is now at a stage where it can reveal the proposals for their new base to residents of the village.
Athletic, who are owned by sports goods magnate Dave Whelan, will use the base for first team training for its professional players and also base its academy there.
The 89-acre site, established as a golf course in 1994, was closed suddenly last summer shortly after The Latics purchased it.
The premises were auctioned with a guide price of £650,000.
The club has aspirations to “become one of the leading football academies in the country” and hopes to achieve the sought after ‘category one’ status for its youth facilities.
Latics chief executive Jonathan Jackson said: “This is the most exciting project the club has been involved in since the building of the then JJB Stadium, now DW Stadium, in 1999.
“We feel that the site is perfect in terms of being able to provide the club with an infrastructure to grow into the future, and provide a Premier League facility for generations to come.”
The club’s current training facilities at Christopher Park in Standish Lower Ground, Wigan were deemed not suitable for this purpose because the site is not large enough. Residents in Charnock Richard were invited to view the plans and comment yesterday, (Tuesday) at Charnock Richard Football Club.
Detailed plans will then be submitted to Chorley Council in the coming weeks who will then deliberate on whether to approve them.
The proposals are designed to meet the set requirements of the Premier League and Football League for a Category one academy.
They include outdoor pitches of varying sizes, a floodlit artificial pitch, a three quarter-sized indoor pitch, changing rooms and medical facilities for players.
There will also be classrooms for academy players, accommodation for staff and car parking.
If given planning permission, the intention is for the training ground to be operational by August 2016.
The plans can be seen in detail from today on www.signetplanning.com.