Legal challenge and residents’ objections may hamper project

Plans for new Casement Park lodged with DoE

An architect's impression of the new Casement Park, due to open in 2015 An architect's impression of the new Casement Park, due to open in 2015
A plan of the Andersonstown Road end of the new stadium, including a Community Cafe and bar, and a ticket shop that will face onto the road A plan of the Andersonstown Road end of the new stadium, including a Community Cafe and bar, and a ticket shop that will face onto the road
An overview of the new site, showing the three covered stands on the Owenvarragh Park and Mooreland Park sides, and the open, uncovered stand at the Andytown Road end An overview of the new site, showing the three covered stands on the Owenvarragh Park and Mooreland Park sides, and the open, uncovered stand at the Andytown Road end
EXCITEMENT IS BUILDING: The front elevation of the proposed new Casement Park, as it will be seen from the Andersonstown Road EXCITEMENT IS BUILDING: The front elevation of the proposed new Casement Park, as it will be seen from the Andersonstown Road
This cross-section of the 'motorway' end of the ground shows just how close the new stands will be to existing houses, such as this one (highlighted in pink) on Mooreland Drive This cross-section of the 'motorway' end of the ground shows just how close the new stands will be to existing houses, such as this one (highlighted in pink) on Mooreland Drive
How the stadium will look from Owenvarragh Park looking North towards the city centre How the stadium will look from Owenvarragh Park looking North towards the city centre
A detailed plan of the stadium at pitch level, including the players' lounge, drug-testing facilities, two handball courts with spectator seating, a warm up area and the changing rooms A detailed plan of the stadium at pitch level, including the players' lounge, drug-testing facilities, two handball courts with spectator seating, a warm up area and the changing rooms
More details of how the front of the stadium will look, including materials and colours to be used More details of how the front of the stadium will look, including materials and colours to be used
By Staff Reporter

 

The plans for the new Casement Park have been lodged with the Planning Service bringing the redevelopment of the famous GAA stadium a step closer.

Work on the £70 million project is due to begin later this year.

The planning application includes over 30 drawings of the proposed new stadium and how it will look once completed.

A community café, ticket office and ‘community facility’ will be accessible from the front of the Andersonstown Road, and the site will also include new leisure facilities, two handball courts and significant catering and merchandising outlets.

The plans outline how the 38,000 seater-stadium will be used, with developers expecting it to be full just four times a year.

That will include the Ulster football and hurling Championship finals as well as potential International Rules matches and All-Ireland quarter-finals. The stadium will be used the rest of the year for Antrim’s National League and Championship matches, as well as club and schools matches.

The planning application was ‘validated’ by the Planning Service on Monday, meaning the public can now log on to the Planning Service website (which is at www.planningni.gov.uk) and view all the related documents and drawings, while responses to the long-running consultation process will also be made available in time. Letters of objection and letters issued to residents by planners will all also be published on the site.

The application is what is known as an ‘Article 31’ application, meaning the Department of the Environment, under Minister Alex Attwood, can fast-track it given its major economic and social significance.

“The significance of Article 31 designation lies in the Minister’s ability to make the final decision,” explained Damien McLoughlin of Belfast planning consultancy firm Resolve Planning & Development.

“Under normal planning application procedure the planners decide if it’s an approval or refusal, so you get policy-driven decisions.

“The application of Article 31 means the wider economic and social significance, and even political issues arising from an application, become much more determining.”

This is what helped the Windsor Park application through in a record 11-week spell, but it is not expected the Casement Park application will run as smoothly.

Compared to Windsor, local residents live very close to the Casement Park site with some homes under 14 metres away from the proposed new stadium.

There is also an added complication after a legal challenge was submitted at the High Court by a building firm – Lagan Somague – who felt they were unfairly removed from the tendering process for the rebuild.

This legal challenge could slow the process down further.

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