GAA fans were shocked last month when Antrim GAA shared photographs of their home ground, Casement Park in a derelict state.
The ground has been lying idle since 2013 when it was closed for a major 38,000 seater refurbishment, which was granted planning permission in February 2014. However, it was quashed a year later by the High Court in Belfast following a judicial review taken against the Planning Service.
— Antrim GAA (@AontroimGAA) August 21, 2018
A further plan was submitted last year that reduced the capacity the height of the stadium by 40 feet, but residents are still objecting to a stadium with a capacity greater than 25,000.
The GAA penned an open letter to clubs and counties in Ulster today, outlining the process to date and stating that they are still awaiting a decision on planning permission, which they hope will be made in the coming months.
“The design approach was heavily influenced by that public consultation, resulting in significant reductions in the capacity, scale, height and mass of the stadium building. The planning application has since drawn almost 2,500 responses both from the general public and from a number of designated statutory consultees, with more than 70% of the responses positive and supportive towards the project.”
“We now await the conclusion of the planning assessment process and look forward to a formal recommendation from the Department for Infrastructure and an ultimate decision on our application. Our expectation is that it will be in a position to conclude its assessment on the application over the next couple of months and move to prepare a recommendation report.”
The GAA also reaffirmed their commitment to the project, despite the delay, saying they will “continue to use all the resources” at their disposal.
“Despite the setbacks, the GAA at Central Council, Ulster Council and Antrim GAA remain resolutely committed to the delivery of our new Provincial Stadium and home to Antrim at Casement Park. The Project Board continues to work closely with the Department for Communities in the context that the new Casement Park Stadium will complete the full delivery of the Regional Stadia Development Programme for the main field sports of Soccer, Rugby and Gaelic Games as set out in the last Programme for Government.”
According to the letter, the refurbished Casement Park will contain the following features:
* Fully covered spectator accommodation for a capacity of circa 34, 500
* Covered seating for 26,000+ spectators and covered standing accommodation for circa 8,200
* Ultra-modern amenities for spectators including restaurants and bars
* Modern facilities for players including 6 changing rooms, warm-up facilities and a players’ lounge
* Non-match day facilities to cater for community and business events
* Cultural, heritage and community facilities
* Indoor handball alleys
* A modern GAA Social Club facility