Preston looks set to have its very own zero-carbon water sports park, complete with a dry ski slope, surfing, water skiing, and motor sports arena.
The concept is the brainchild of city businessman Eddie Sloane, founder of Trax Motorsport, who is looking to completely revamp the former Preston Dockland area on the banks of the River Ribble.
For the last 20 years, Mr Sloane has offered off-road motor sport dirt bike facilities for local enthusiasts as well offering vocational educational experiences for some of the UK’s most vulnerable and hard to reach young people.
Now, he is set to spend a number of years transforming the site into a new leisure and education complex, dubbed Phoenix Park.
At the core of the park will be the main Phoenix Park building, on top of which will be the dry ski slope and a mountain bike course sloping gradually across the skyline.
To the west will be the cable water ski lake, a wind surfing and kayak lake, and a steam train trail. Residential log cabins will surround the lakes where people can stay over.
To the east of the building, visitors will find the motor cross track and wave pool, where surfing can take place.
Further east will be the Pioneer Building; an education hub for students using the site for the likes of Technical Apprenticeships. The building is set to replace the Pioneer Training and Education Centre, currently used on site for teaching, workshops, and as office space. Thousands of jobs are set to be created through the project both at the site and through qualifications gained by its students, Mr Sloane estimates.
A football pitch and skate park are set to be built adjacent to the Pioneer Building, with a go kart track to the east.
Finally, a recycling point will be located at the most eastern edge of the site.
Preston City Council has granted Mr Sloane a 100 year lease for the site, with further land included for the wider leisure area. Planning permission would still be required before work to build the site can start.
“This is a very exciting project and we feel will be of interest to local and UK wide audience as it aligns in many ways to the national and local government and council polices and agendas, regarding carbon reduction, education and employment,” Mr Sloane told LancsLive.
A planning application for the Pioneer Building, go kart track, football pitch and skate park was lodged with Preston City Council in late 2020, with hopes of completing the complex by mid-2022.
After the finalisation of this, Mr Sloane and his team are set to start construction on the remainder of the Phoenix Park complex.
“During and post construction there will be plenty of opportunities for student involvement as Phoenix Park rises to become the premier place for young people in the care system to live, thrive and be safe whilst they learn, build their skills and begin to earn,” a spokesperson for Pioneer TEC, the educational company behind the build, said.
Pioneer TEC also states the build will be “virtually zero carbon”, going “beyond leisure and into the realms of recycling, renewable energy and the carbon free age of the future”.
The site is set to be powered by on-site wind and solar power.
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