Group seek judicial review over Casement

Published Thursday, 17 April 2014
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A west Belfast residents group has launched legal proceedings seeking a judicial review of the decision to grant planning approval for the redevelopment of Casement Park.

Group seek judicial review over Casement
The design of the new look Casement Park. (© Ulster GAA)

The Moorehead and Owenvarragh Residents Association (MORA) have confirmed that they lodged papers on Monday in a bid to overturn the decision at the High Court in Belfast.

It comes as work on a major £76.4m redevelopment of the stadium is due to start.

The new park, which will be built on the existing Casement site, will seat 38,000 people and have a new playing surface and modern facilities including corporate resources, player facilities and warm up area, a crowd control centre and a press centre.

A contribution of £61.4m from the NI Executive through the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and GAA investment of £15m will fund the project.

When finished, the new stadium hopes to attract significant events worth up to £15m to the local economy and sustain 1,500 jobs in the construction sector.

It is hoped the stadium will be finished in time for the 2016 GAA Ulster Final, which will move from Clones in Co Monaghan.

A statement released from MORA read: "On Tuesday, 1 April 2014 the MORA residents' group gave the Department of the Environment a detailed document setting out their complaints regarding the decision to grant planning approval for a 38,000 seater stadium at the Casement Park site and asking the Department to revoke the planning permission.

"In the event that the Department did not quash the planning permission, MORA indicated its intention to apply to the High Court to request a judicial review and challenge the legality of that decision. Unfortunately, the Department did not give any meaningful response."

Members of the residents group, which was established in January 2012, are concerned about the scale and height of the new stadium, and the problems the extra traffic will cause.

The statement continued: "We have tirelessly pursued every avenue. We now have no option left but to challenge the planner's decision through the legal route.

"We acknowledge the presence of the existing sports ground but, in our judicial review application, maintain that a stadium in the range 20-25,000 is the upper limit of capacity for this site, having regard to location within a densely populated residential area, positioning, scale, mass, light and amenity and the possibility of handling related traffic."

MORA said that the judicial review application sets out a number of reasons why planning permission should be deemed unlawful, citing correspondence, research reports, meeting minutes, issues papers, policy documents and legislation.

Planning permission for the project was passed by the Department of the Environment in December.

Environment Mark H Durkan's department received around 984 objections and a petition of objection with 431 signatures.

Planners also received 254 letters in support of the plan and another petition with 1,001 signatures welcoming the development.

© UTV News
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9 Comments
Declan in Omagh wrote (192 days ago):
Once again everything for Belfast, about time west of the ban had some cash spent in it, the people of Belfast could maybe do a bit of traveling for a change, and also find out they don't need a passport either to get out of it. Plenty go room in Omagh for stadium, where it would be made welcome.
ady in Tyrone wrote (205 days ago):
@Antrim Gael... Downsize and "Pump the remaining funds into grass-roots GAA in Antrim" ! The money being spent on this project does not belong to the Antrim GAA so the chances of having it spent on development of YOUR under-performing county is a non-runner. Raise your funds independently like every other county has done.
Antrim Abú in Casement concert hall wrote (222 days ago):
"The only thing these Residents want is a big pay out " What ignorance and what arrogance! These same residents are the one's who contributed, financially to building the original stadium. These are the same residents who are the backbone of the local GAA clubs. Your ill informed comments are as insulting as they are ignorant of the facts. I could think of a few more things to call you and clown would be the least of them. So, county board, take your concert venue and stick it outside Mr Brennan or better still, Adrian's home and let them get their free Gareth Brooks concerts as they seem to be all for it. the residents will gladly forgo the pleasure, thank you very much!
Joe in Belfast wrote (224 days ago):
1st point, the £15 million to local economy is incorrect, this is the economic benefit to be made by GAA, based on their projected figures of, ie 4 events per year @ 38000,( and will not get that attendance levels for games, maybe one, but the rest concerts) means every attendee spends approx £100 each, highly unlikely, more like this includes ticket price and sales in casement, so this 15 mil is to the GAA. 2nd, it will not create 1500 jobs, this is infact 1500 'job years', the GAA 'fact sheet' states 691 jobs, less than half but again a beefed up sound good misleading statement. This whole thing from the word go has been a rotten egg. To Paul Brennan, I'm afraid you don't know what your talking about the residents just want to keep their basic human rights and no amount of money will change their minds, what a idiotic thing to say! You clown. And with the hassle and distress they have caused, I too wish the GAA would pull the plans and go elsewhere. This is a concert stadium no doubt about it, and it's not wanted nor needed by the community of Andersonstown. Why should the corporate GAA just take over the area, just look at the contempt shown to croke park residents with the concerts down there. It's been one PR disaster after another, build a stadium yes, but for GAA purposes only and certainly no concerts! Otherwise take yourselves off. The Andersonstown community is not for sale, nor to be bullied!
John Fitzpatri in Belfast wrote (224 days ago):
Well put Antrim Gael!
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