40,000-seat stadium is unveiled in Andytown

New Casement on show

By Conor McLoughlin

THE concept plans for the new Casement Park stadium were unveiled as part of the Ulster Council’s community consultation process this week.

Casement Park will be demolished and completely rebuilt by 2016 in a venture funded by the Northern Ireland Executive and the GAA. The Ulster Council, who are in charge of the redevelopment, staged the promised local community consultation event on Tuesday in Andersonstown Leisure Centre to allow local businesses and residents to have their say on the £76.4 million project.

The consultation allowed members of the public to quiz the architects, engineers and other professionals who are in charge of the biggest GAA infrastructure project ever undertaken in the North.

Those who attended were presented with plans for the new stadium and were encouraged to give their feedback on the proposals. A formal consultation period will begin before the end of the year and all the views gathered will help modify the final stadium design before the final plans are sent for planning approval in March 2013.

Those behind the stadium plans expect the planning process to last between six and nine months, with building work on the stadium on schedule to start in late 2013. Work must be completed by 2016, otherwise the £61.4 million of government funding may not be released.

The new stadium will seat 40,000 people and will include restaurants and conference facilities, bringing sustainable jobs to the area.

The new ‘front’ of the stadium on the Andersonstown Road will be further back from the road than the current turnstile wall to allow for a public space in front of the stadium. There will be a number of commercial units facing on to the Andersonstown Road, including a ticket office and an Ulster GAA merchandise shop.

All patrons will enter and exit the stadium at the Andersonstown Road end, meaning no supporters will access the stadium from Owenvarragh Park or Mooreland Park.

The Andersonstown Road will be closed on major match days, while a one-mile traffic ‘exclusion zone’ will prevent anyone apart from local residents from parking in the stadium’s vicinity. The GAA will encourage visiting supporters to travel either by train to Balmoral Station or use one of the proposed park and ride schemes. The new design includes 240 parking spaces.

The stadium will be a ‘bowl’ shape, with a roof on all sides, and with new floodlights contained within the bowl, this will go a long way to prevent light and sound escaping. Rainwater will be collected from the roof for use in the toilet system and for watering the pitch.

Tom Daly, Chairman of the Stadium Board, hopes people will grab the chance to have a say on the new Casement.

“This is the first consultation event that we’ve held with the wider community on the Casement Park designs,” said Tom.  “We have put in place the first design concepts, which we are consulting on. We want as many people as possible to have an input into these design concepts, so we will be holding further events in the coming weeks to get input from people in the wider community, who are getting an opportunity to have their say on the stadium. We are holding meetings with the residents, as we have been for some time, and what we in the GAA want is a positive result for everybody that will result in a social and economic driver for the entire Andersonstown and West Belfast area.”

To have your say on the

new Casement, visit casementpark.ie, email enquiries@casementpark.ie   or go to the Ulster GAA Council website ulster.gaa.ie

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