Council To Investigate Velodrome Funding Failure

“My department did make a bid for capital funding for the Elite Facilities Programme as part of the  Budget 2010 process, however, given the constraints on funding the Executive was unable to meet this bid. The recently announced draft Budget 2011-15, confirms that my Department’s capital allocation does not allow for any of the applications inder the Elite facilities programme to be taken forward. “Under the circumstances, I do not think it would be beneficial to meet to discuss individual cases. I understand however that Sport NI have recently written to all applicants to explain the situation, and have undertaken to met and discuss further if necessary.” [caption id="attachment_6398" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="An artists impression of the velodrome. "][/caption] Mr Michael Lipsett, Down Council Recreation Director, said that he was surprised that the bid had fallen through as the Minister must have been satisfied with the business case for the velodrome and the other projects also applied for through other councils when he bidded for Executive  funding. He said. “Why did the Minister make the bid if the business cases did not stack up? I am hoping that this is not completely dead” Councillor Dermot Curran asked the probing question,” Is there anything wrong about our business case?” Councillor Eamonn O’Neill described the failed process as “absolutely apalling”. Councillor Billy Walker said, “We need a face-to-face meeting to ask the Minister where the money has gone to.” Councillor Mickey Coogan said, “We’re entitled to ask why the business case was not satisfactory. And we need the clear terms of reference for this case. If the Minister has difficulties with the project we need to know exactly what they are in relation to his own criteria.” Councillor Peter Craig said, “If it was not for this velodrome problem we would have had a new leisure center in Downpatrick by now.” Councillor John Doris said, “The Minister has indicated that five business cases were not up to standard. He did this while he had 14 months to ask questions and sort things out. I am concerned about the lack of clarity over this decision.” Councillor Cadogan Enright who opposed the velodrome on the Inch Abbey Road site on environmental grounds, said that the Council needs again to look at its options in relation to a ring road around Downpatrick and re-siting in the area of the Downshire Estate. Councillor Robert Burgess, “We should go straight to the office of the OFMDFM. The velodrome was a NI-level project.” After a long debate, Councillor Dermot Curran said, “This has been a worthwhile debate. Now we need answers.” The row will continue on until clarity is established. Down District Council has incurred development costs to date of over £50,000 on the velodrome project]]>