CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a £2million community sports hub look set to be given the green light by planning bosses next week.

Accrington Stanley Community Trust’s application for the site to be built in Highams Playing Field is to go before Hyndburn planning committee on Wednesday.

It would feature a new multi-use community building, erection of fencing and lighting, creation of 3G pitches and parking.

Earlier this year a ‘Save Highams Playing Fields’ group was set up against the plans and an online petition to preserved the field collected more than 1,000 signatures.

The proposal is recommended for approval with conditions, subject to the Secretary of State confirming that the planning application will not be called in.

Martin Fearon, from the community trust, will be speaking at the meeting next week.

He said: “We’re happy with the report and the recommendations.

“There has been a lot of hard work to get to this stage.

“Now it’ just in the hands of the planning committee.”

The Department for Communities and Local Government has advised that a request has been made to call the application in relation to the loss of “free public space”.

The decision will be considered and a decision made in the next 21 days.

A report from the planning officer ahead of the meeting said: “The proposed development will enhance the playing pitches and facilities at the site and the number of people using these facilities will increase.

“The proposed development will bring about a significant improvement in the quality of sports pitches available for use in Hyndburn.”

A total of 97 letters of support were received which praised the plans for creating jobs, improving facilities for the community and offering a safe place for children to go.

However 71 objections notices have been given to the council from those petitioning against the plans.

Reasons for objections include loss of free access to the green space, parking concerns on Thorneyholme Road and noise and lighting disturbance.

Jackie Rawstron, secretary of the ‘Save Highams’ group, has been invited to speak at the meeting next week.

She said: “It is not unexpected the recommendations of the report. We have one or two issues with it.

“There are a lot of conditions which Accrington Stanley Community Trust would have to meet and I’m not sure if they will be able to.

“At this stage we are as confident as we can be going into the meeting.”

The meeting will take place at 2pm at Scaitcliffe House in Ormerod Street on Wednesday, December 13.