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Ards propose school ground scheme with Movilla High

Ards Chairman Brian Adams
Ards Chairman Brian Adams

By Keith Bailie

Ards Football Club and Movilla High School are considering a partnership that could allow the exiled Championship One club to return to Newtownards.

Ards and Movilla are investigating the possibility of building a new sports ground on the school's town-centre premises that could host Irish League games and give pupils access to modern sporting facilities.

Although discussions are at a preliminary stage, it's believed that the modest arena would include a 3G pitch, changing rooms, floodlights and a seated stand for spectators.

Ards have not played in Newtownards since they vacated Castlereagh Park in 2002, with Movilla's acting principal, Ian Bell, explaining: "Ards Chairman Brian Adams approached us some time ago about a possible link-up between the school and the football club.

"The club made a presentation to our board of governors about the possibility of using our hockey pitches to build a new sports ground.

"Although things are at a very early stage it's an idea that appeals to us because we are a school that is at the heart of the community. We want to create a culture of ambition at Movilla High School and we see sport as a part of that.

"This would give our pupils access to high-end sports facilities as well as benefiting the rest of the community. However, there is a long way to go."

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The proposal must receive approval from the Education Authority NI and then pass NI Planning Permission.

Adams said: "It's well documented that we have been trying to source land in Newtownards to build a new football ground.Since the collapse of the Floodgates project just over a year ago, we have engaged in a number of discussions with various parties with this aim in mind, and we will continue to do so until we achieve our long-term ambition of returning to Ards.

"However, any discussions that are currently ongoing are at a preliminary stage."

Tomorrow, Ards will face Larne in the quarter finals of the Intermediate Cup at the Bangor Fuels Arena venue they have shared with local rivals Bangor since 2012.

Belfast Telegraph


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