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Casement on track

The Ulster Council toured Manchester City's Etihad stadium during their fact-finding mission for the Casement Park revamp

THE AMBITIOUS aim remains of commencing work on site at the new Casement Park by autumn 2013, according to Ulster GAA chiefs.

The head of the stadium board, former Ulster Council president Tom Daly, led a GAA delegation which presented an update to the Culture, Arts and Leisure committee at Stormont last week, and reported that significant progress was taking place on the project.

“We anticipate receiving the formal ‘Letter of Offer’ for funding this week, once it has been signed off by Sport NI’s executive committee. The advertisements will also appear in the coming days for applications to be part of the Integrated Consultancy Team, which will look after the planning and design of the stadium,” Daly told the assembled MLA’s.

“We hope to have that team in place by July 2012. That will be a very significant milestone for us, and will allow us to accelerate the entire process.”

Daly confirmed that as well as the £61.4 million being given over by Stormont for the stadium project, it is hoped that the GAA will also contribute £15 million towards the redevelopment of Casement Park.

What exactly the new stadium will include is also becoming much clearer, with tours of five stadia which have been constructed in the past 12 years by Ulster GAA officials having helped mould their vision, including Manchester City’s Ethiad Stadium and Bolton’s Reebok Stadium.

“Our overall ambition is to develop a modern, fit for purpose stadium at Casement. The design brief at a high level aims to provide a 40,000 all-seater stadium, at this stage with a minimum of 80 percent cover.

“There will be 2000 premium seats, a top class playing surface and changing and warm-up facilities. We are also planning on corporate facilities which will include hospitality areas.

“There will also be some commercial facilities and car parking. We do want to do something by way of community facilities, but that will be defined through our community consultation process.”

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