New Windsor Park stadium gets go ahead

Published Wednesday, 20 February 2013
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Planning permission for a new 18,000 capacity stadium at Windsor Park has been approved by Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

New Windsor Park stadium gets go ahead
Minister Attwood, IFA President Jim Shaw and Minister Ní Chuilín. (© Pacemaker)

The Irish Football Association can now build the stadium and two new stands to the south and east of the ground in south Belfast.

The total cost of the project is estimated at £29.2m - £25.2m of which is being funded by the Northern Ireland Executive.

The south and east stands will be rebuilt first, followed by the refurbishment and extension of the north and west stands.

The stadium is due to to be completed by June 2015.

Planning permission was granted within 11 weeks of receiving the application, which is the fastest ever turnaround of a major planning application.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said that the announcement is a key milestone in the development of her regional sports stadiums programme, which follows the Executive pledge of up to £110m of funding for the redevelopment of Ravenhill, Windsor Park and Casement Park.

The granting of planning permission today highlights the excellent progress being made by the Irish FA, but more importantly shows how Government working across departments with a common objective can deliver for the people here.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín

"We now move on to appointing the construction operators to come in and final design to build the stadium," IFA president Jim Shaw said.

"The national football stadium plans are truly impressive and I know that, once the redevelopment project is complete, Windsor Park will be a stadium which we will all be proud of."

Minister Attwood said the move was a "tremendous boost for football and sport".

"This ambitious, exciting project is important in sporting terms to everyone in Northern Ireland and will also create employment opportunities for local people, particularly during the construction process," he said.

"This is why I made sure that we were in a position to turn it around quickly. My officials worked with the project team and key consultees for months before the application was submitted, clearing any hurdles. This ensured a quality application and therefore a speedy process."

Mr Attwood added: "The local community were also very much involved before I made my decision. I asked the Irish FA to extensively engage with the local community before they submitted their planning application.

"This they did, meaning that local people had a say in the design of the stadium."

Welcoming the announcement, Ms Ní Chuilín said that the Irish FA is now able to create a "modern stadium to cater for the needs of the whole community".

She added: "While the modernisation of Windsor Park represents a huge boost for football fans, this project and the others at Ravenhill and Casement are also about building community foundations and providing a catalyst for the regeneration of the areas around the stadiums.

"All of the stadium projects will bring benefits to local communities in terms of job opportunities during and post construction, as well as providing wider social benefits in areas such as health and well-being."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
7 Comments
Phil in England wrote (543 days ago):
Love all this moaning about Linfield getting stands built for them where do you think the money for the new stand at solitude came from? The IFA of course. No one likes us, we dont care! Super Linfield.
s magowan in belfast wrote (545 days ago):
First of all Linfield will not own the new stadium,it will be owned by the IFA and Linfield will only be paid a rental allowance as they own the ground it is being built on.Surely any National Stadium is always situated in the Capital City.
mark in Belfast wrote (548 days ago):
Northern Ireland do not play Portugal at the end of March. Russia and Israel are to be played at the end of March, get it right UTV!
alan in belfast wrote (549 days ago):
always about Linfield..... Fact is where do you build a new stadium? where does the land come from? plus your building from scratch. Lisburn was touted, but they wanted a shrine for the hunger strikers there, so thats a no go!? Suggestions on a postcard please!
Michael in Portedown wrote (549 days ago):
Just like the john lewis story, if it was in belfast then of course it will get the go ahead. Yet again it has to be in belfast mentality. No where else that I can think of, is there a national stadium that is owned by a club which is the sole benefactor of a national stadium. so much for it being a national stadium. not very inclusive being in belfast. the maze site would have been ideal for all sports goers and all sports. there will still be the 3 sports and their individual grounds. nothing like moving on!
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