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Blanchflower Stadium: plan for aiprort train station

By Linda McKee

A new railway halt proposed to serve the Blanchflower Stadium on the Belfast to Bangor line could also revolutionise transport links to George Best Belfast City Airport.

The developer of the proposed 93-acre project has put forward plans to build a covered walkway over the Sydenham bypass, linking the airport to the stadium and creating a new railway halt on the Bangor line.

Four thousand car parking spaces are also proposed and it is understood the stadium will be |accessed by a new road link to the bypass.

This would make use of the |underpass constructed under the dual carriageway some years ago to allow traffic to leave the airport without having to cut across the main bypass.

Councillor Jim Rodgers, who has been working with the developers to come up with an acceptable plan, said strong transport links are crucial to its success.

“It would be ideal to have this halt to accommodate fans going up to and from the stadium — we are trying to get people out of their cars,” he said.

“It’s key because you’ve got to bear in mind that although there are very few houses on that part of the main Holywood Road, you have got to consider those living off the Holywood Road.

“The last thing the applicant wants is for people to be parking outside homes and blocking driveways.

“Like a number of councillors, I’ve been calling for some time for a railway halt to accommodate Belfast City Airport.

“The idea is to have a halt which would not only accommodate the airport but the stadium.

“If you are building major sporting facilities, you need them close to the airport, railway, bus routes, the ferries and to have a good road network.”

The applicant has worked closely with Roads Service and Northern Ireland Railways to make sure the transport links fit in with their plans, he added.

The halt would be relatively low cost, with just a covered area on either side of the line and linking in to a covered walkway across the bypass, Mr Rodgers said.

“With our inclement weather, people are not going to get wet when leaving the stadium or the airport going to the halt,” he said.

A spokesman for George Best Belfast City Airport said: “We would welcome any plans that would improve access to the airport.”

Belfast Telegraph

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