Feb 14 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
THE Maharishi community is in talks with Burscough FC over the creation of a housing complex, peace palace and health centre at the club’s Victoria Park site, it has emerged.
Last week the club won planning permission to build 76 apartments and houses and a new community stadium.
The Advertiser can today reveal that one of the options for the scheme would see houses built to Maharishi Vastu architecture principles – similar to Feng Shui. The Vastu principles were assembled by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – the Indian guru who developed Transcendental Meditation (TM).
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Martin Gilchrist, owner of Burscough FC, met with Dr Peter Warburton, acting on behalf of the Maharishi European Sidhaland – the UK’s TM community based in Skelmersdale – in October, where an agreement was signed for experts in the TM community to supply advice for the project.
Mr Gilchrist told the Advertiser: “I was delighted that we were able to secure the backing for the scheme in the terms of the original application submitted in 2007. During that period we have spoken with and discussed possible scenarios for the funding and viability... with a number of parties. It remains our intention to proceed to complement the current scheme with the help and assistance of various key parties and will now be working hard to deliver the community benefit in terms of the sporting and other facilities set out in the application alongside the new housing which acts as an essential trigger to that.”
Andy Pringle, of Building Green Ltd, is development manager for the Burscough FC project and was present at the council planning meeting last week. Mr Pringle – who lives within the Skem Maharishi community – said the Vastu scheme was one of several scenarios under discussion.
At the planning meeting, a further condition was added, requiring the new stadium be built before Victoria Park is demolished, and Mr Pringle said: “It is a difficult scheme to deliver and the plan we have got now is even harder, as we have to build the stadium first. Our goal is to deliver the best scheme for Burscough FC and for Burscough.
“The scenario discussed with the Maharishi community is interesting from a design perspective and we are looking into how it could enhance the development. If we can get end users we are far more likely to deliver the full scheme but our discussions have not been limited to the Maharishi community by any means.”
But speculation over the likelihood of the Maharishi option being taken forward was fuelled after a flurry of letters from high-profile members of the community – including Derek Cassells, head teacher of the Maharishi Free School, and Dr Ian Birnbaum OBE, chair of governors – were submitted supporting the planning application last week.
In a TM newsletter reporting on the October meeting, Mr Pringle was quoted as saying the scheme could provide a wide range of homes and facilities, including a Maharishi Peace Palace, Maharishi Ayur-Veda Health Centre, business centre and market square with lake. Around 300 members of the Maharishi community currently live in Skem, where facilities include the Maharishi Golden Dome, Health Centre andSports and Arts Centre.
Nikki Escott, of the Maharishi European Sidhaland, said: “Mr Gilchrist is planning to build in Burscough using Maharishi Vastu principles. The houses would be available on the open market and there is considerable interest from people in Skelmersdale in the development.”