A NEW planning application from Ulster GAA for the redevelopment of Casement Park will not have a pre-determined capacity.
The proposed 38,000 capacity in the original plans, now withdrawn and replaced by this application, has been a source of much debate with claims that it would leave to evacuation issues in the event of an emergency.
Ulster GAA will now undertake a consultation period involving key stakeholders to fine-tune the new application.
Tom Daly, Chairman of the Casement Park Project Board commented: “We wish to thank everyone for their support as we look forward to a new stadium at Casement Park.
“Essentially what we are announcing today is the launch of an entirely new process that will inform the design and build of a new stadium.
“There will be two phases to the engagement framework, phase 1 forms the technical scoping exercise. During the second phase, a 20-week community consultation period, we are looking forward to hearing from local residents and interested members of the community, businesses, arts and cultural organisations and sporting bodies on our proposals.
“We are still in the early stages, with the consultation and technical evaluations set to inform the stadium design at a later stage. The GAA is a proud community organisation, embedded in communities and open to everyone.
“The GAA is volunteer driven and thrives on community spirit, the Casement Park project therefore represents for us an opportunity to invest in a community which we are proud to be a part of. It has been the home of Antrim GAA since 1953 and we are excited at the prospect of it also becoming the home of Ulster GAA. This will be a facility everyone in the local area, all of Belfast, Antrim and Ulster can be proud of.”
The Ulster GAA press release then gave further details of phase one and phase two of the application:
“The capacity of the Provincial Stadium is not pre-determined. Rather a proposed capacity will emerge following completion of the Environmental Impact Assessment, public consultation and consultation with statutory consultees and key stakeholders such as the Safety Technical Group, PSNI and others,” it read.
“Until these consultation processes are complete and detailed Environmental, Transport and Socio Economic Assessments are complete, the specific capacity for the Provincial Stadium simply cannot be determined.
“The first phase in the process is developing and agreeing a scoping exercise with the Belfast City Council. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed redevelopment will identify key topics for assessment as well as other reports and information with an Environmental Statement being submitted to Belfast City Council in support of the proposals and to assist in the determination of the application.
“Following the environmental scoping the GAA will launch phase two – a comprehensive 20 week Pre-Application Community Consultation (PACC) programme to seek views across all elements of the new Provincial Stadium with local stakeholders, interest groups, local residents, the wider GAA and other relevant stakeholder groups such as business, arts, social and sporting bodies.”