Ulster GAA unveil new look Casement Park stadium - 91% in favour of project say developers
Ulster GAA unveiled its proposals for the new look Casement Park stadium saying 91% of the community support the project.
Refurbishment of the west Belfast stadium has been fraught with difficulty with residents protesting over the scale of the project with numerous court challenges.
On Monday, Ulster GAA revealed the latest designs in a bid to get work on the stadium underway and invited all concerned to view the plans and have their say.
The project is part of a major government investment programme which has seen the national football stadium at Windsor Park and Ulster's Kingspan stadium significantly rebuilt.
The new Casement scheme plans to transform the stadium with an enhanced atmosphere and iconic new stadium bowl. The mixed use facility proposes a range of resources to advance the economic, cultural and heritage opportunities for the local community.
The announcement follows an extensive community consultation process with 91% supportive of the project, those behind the new plans said.
The design, which was informed and shaped by feedback received from the local community and wider stakeholders during Stage One, has a proposed capacity of 34,500 inclusive of around 8,500 standing terracing.
The new height, scale and capacity are all reduced from the previous design, with the stadium envelope also being further restricted.
Uniquely to Belfast, the complete bowl design will ensure that terracing supporters have the same level of protection from the weather and concourse facilities as all other spectators within the ground. The proposal also sets out plans for sustainable travel options with dedicated traffic and travel operations including supporter coach travel and off-site park and ride transportation.
Tom Daly, chairman of the Casement Park Project Board said: "Today’s design unveiling demonstrates Ulster GAA’s willingness to engage, listen and evolve our plans for a new Casement Park stadium.
"In the new scheme we have reduced the scale, mass, size and capacity of the stadium whilst at the same time creating a first class atmosphere for GAA supporters through the bowl design and up-close spectator experience.
"We are also committed to delivering a travel culture change within the GAA with a sustainable transport strategy inclusive of coach travel, park and ride and integrated travel choices with ticket sales.
"This strategy is good for ease of access to and from the stadium, is cognisant of the needs and views of the local community and is good for the wider environment.
"The emerging design will be up to code and the Casement Park project team continues to work closely and positively with the Safety Technical Group (STG). We are looking forward to hearing from GAA supporters, the local community and all stakeholders on their thoughts on the design and community facilities throughout the consultation process."
Michael Hasson, Ulster GAA President, added: "GAA members, supporters as well as people across the local community are looking forward to an exciting new beginning for Antrim and a Provincial Stadium for Ulster. We want to create a positive sporting legacy and iconic stadium that will be a beacon to inspire young GAA players throughout, West Belfast, Antrim and across Ulster."
Rory Miskelly, Casement Park Project Director added: "The Casement Park project team are committed to providing long term socio-economic benefits to west Belfast, Belfast and beyond.
"There is great potential for local people and the wider community to benefit from job opportunities that will be created both during the construction of the stadium and in its day-to-day operation. The design reflects our vision to develop a stadium that supports, enhances and enriches the cultural and heritage opportunities for the local community and I would urge everyone with an interest in the project to go see the new design and let their voice be heard."
Sinn Fein West Belfast MP Paul Maskey welcomed the announcement.
He said: "There is no doubt that this is an exciting time for the GAA, all who have been involved with this project and the wider West Belfast community
"Today is a step forward that will allow a new stadium to be built.
"There will be more opportunities for residents, businesses, GAA supporters and all those who have an interest in Casement Park to have their voices heard.
“I would urge everyone who has an interest to take the opportunities to discuss these proposals with the development team on the dates set out today.
"I have no doubt that a new Casement Park will help the continued regeneration of west Belfast and with £25m already secured for a new Andersonstown leisure centre will see over £100m invested in this part of west Belfast.”