WORK has started on the first phase of a new £2.5million sports village in Burnley.

Diggers have arrived on the site of the Prairie playing fields to start work on the new scheme.

The initiative has already been given £350,000 by Sport England and the authority will borrow £1.5million to make their proposals for a new ‘3G’ sports pitch, gym and driving range a reality.

The council has also received £350,000 from the Football Foundation for the ambitious sports village project, In a report to councillors earlier this year, Mick Cartledge, community services director, said: “This ambitious scheme will see the regeneration of the Prairie site, with the development of new changing facilities, a gym and driving range.

“The business plan demonstrates prudential borrowing of £1.5million would be appropriate for funding the development.”

Council bosses will now seek a development partner for the pavilion and golf driving range elements of the scheme, which will follow later. Plans are in place for a ‘grassroots’ academy there.

Management of the centre, which has been backed by the Lancashire FA, English Golf Union and Rugby Football League, is expected to be overseen by the borough’s new leisure trust, which officially took over facilities on April 1.