Nichola Mallon, the Department for Infrastructure Minister, has given the green light for the Casement Park development.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon MLA has today announced her decision to recommend planning approval for the new stadium at Casement Park.
As a result the Ulster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) will be able to build a new 34,578 capacity stadium on their existing site on the Andersonstown Road, Belfast.
Minister Mallon said: “Today marks a significant step in the redevelopment of Casement Park.
“The Ulster Council of the GAA can now move forward with their ambitious plans for the regeneration of the stadium.
“Since taking office I have stressed the need for progression of this long awaited application.
“I acknowledge that this approval was not an easy decision, there has been an extensive consultation process due to the complexities of the application and the level of public representation in relation to the proposal.
“I recognise the impacts on residential amenity from the proposed development but ultimately I had to weigh such impacts with the social and economic benefits that would result from the completion of this project and I truly believe that the Casement Park stadium will be successful.
“The new stadium is of high quality design and will become a renowned landmark building which will provide a further catalyst for regeneration of the Andersonstown Road and an economic boost to West Belfast in general. Belfast as a whole shall benefit from this redevelopment, connecting people from across the city, the north and further afield.
“This stadium will boost sports tourism and the economy in the North. Jobs during the construction phase and additional jobs for the daily management are to be welcomed.
“This decision represents a significant boost for our economy, our community and sports across Ulster and across our island.”
The Planning application LA04/2017/0474/F was submitted to Belfast City Council on 28 February 2017 by the applicant the Ulster GAA. The application was called- in under Section 29(1) of the Planning Act (NI) 2011 on 8 March 2017. The Department gave this direction as it considered the application to be of regional significance.
The application was for the re-development of Casement Park to provide a new Stadium (Capacity of 34,578). Development comprises: demolition of the existing facilities; construction of new pitch, boundary wall and stands, incorporating bar/restaurant & ancillary kitchen areas, conference, training, community and cultural heritage and education facilities, ancillary offices, player accommodation and welfare facilities, press/media & broadcast facilities, replacement floodlighting, stadium/event management suite, ground support facilities including new arrangements for vehicles and pedestrians, electronic display installations, storage, surface and undercroft car parking, hard and soft landscaping, new landscaped pedestrian access from Mooreland Park to Stockman’s Lane. Use of the stadium for up to three outdoor music concerts in any calendar year.
Altogether, the Department received approximately 1306 letters of objection and three petitions of objection along with 1584 letters in support and one petition of support in respect of this application.
A Notice of Opinion to approve will now be issued to Belfast City Council and the applicant. There is a right to a hearing before the Planning Appeals Commission should either the Council or the applicant disagree with the Department’s opinion.
On the basis that both the Council and the applicant agree with the Notice of Opinion to approve, the Minister’s final decision will issue only when a Section 76 Planning Agreement with the applicant and relevant parties has been satisfactorily concluded.
Ennis welcomes Casement Park approval
Sinn Féin MLA Sinéad Ennis has welcomed the announcement of planning approval for the redevelopment of Casement Park.
The South Down MLA said: “The announcement that planning approval has been given to build a new state of the art stadium at Casement Park is very welcome news.
“Not only will this be welcomed by Antrim Gaels; it is also a massive boost for west Belfast and the wider community.
“It will provide a welcome economic boost to west Belfast and also create many jobs in the construction.
“I want to congratulate the Ulster Council and Antrim GAA and everyone who worked so hard over many years to get where we are today.
“Sinn Féin have been at the forefront of campaigning on this project for many years, working with many others, to get us to a place where the Minister is in a place to make this positive announcement.”