AS Chorley FC prepares for life in the Skrill North division next season, Garry Flitcroft could be forgiven for ploughing all of his energies into football.

But the 41-year-old has invested heavily in a sideline at Flitcraft, close to the village of St Michael’s On Wyre on the way to Garstang.

Here, bespoke timber frame houses can be built in a factory and transported on a truck ready to be put up.

For those pioneering this new way of housebuilding it is the ‘future’, with the speed of a build dramatically reduced and improved insulation, meaning a drop in energy bills.

For Flitcroft, who played 248 times in 10 years for Rovers after signing from Manchester City in 1996, it is a labour of love.

He said: “My dad was a builder and when I was 18 I bought four or five properties with my first signing-on fee. I have a portfolio built over the past 20 years and I have always enjoyed working in property.”

Although keen to develop his property portfolio, Flitcroft still has eyes on pushing up the footballing ladder, but only when the time is right.

He said: “I still do training on a Tuesday and Thursday and it does not interfere with this. Staff here make the panels and deal with sales so it runs itself really.

“I had a chance at the Preston North End job when Graham Westley got it and if I had got that job things would have been different.”

Flitcraft isn’t the first time the Magpies boss, who took over at Victory Park in 2010, has invested in eco-homes after building seven luxury Huf Hauses on the old Victoria Mill site in Chapeltown.

But the new factory, off Tarnacre Lane, he has the capacity to achieve £20 million turnover and has space for up to 50 staff.

The firm uses insulated timber frame panels to provide the basic structure of a house, with a compression machine forcing two panels together either side of insulating foam.

This method ensures heat does not escape from the homes, meaning far cheaper energy bills, claims Flitcroft. He said: “They are almost zero-carbon. This is the future of housebuilding.”

Panels are made to measure in the factory, ready to be put together on the site. The frame of the home, including beams for internal rooms, can be erected within a week.

Flitcroft said: “The intention is it gets done quickly and is watertight so people can get working inside and out.”

Once the house frame is in place, any cladding can be built on the outside of the home to give it the typical brick or stone appearance, and internal work can commence.