Newry City Athletic Football Club Chairman Martin McLoughlin is delighted to announce the club have secured planning permission to develop The Showgrounds in a project which will bring much needed facilities to the City of Newry “The football hub project has the potential to be a flagship for sports in the East Border region and beyond. Newry City AFC is at the heart of the community and the club are committed to improve our home ground at The Showgrounds to include state-of-the-art training and match facilities that will not only benefit our club but the wider sporting community across the district. This will allow our club to further expand its activities, which, in turn, will allow even more young people to participate in sport. The club and its facilities are vital to Newry City and its relationship with football. Support for this scheme from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council will be crucial to getting our ambitious project over the line.”
Our vision is to build and sustain Newry City AFC and The Showgrounds in its important position within the City as the home of sporting, recreational, community and volunteering opportunity
It is the clubs aim to generate wider community benefit through football, sport and non-sport activities, particularly in the areas of health and wellbeing, education skills and employment, social inclusion and volunteering by creating a sustainable model for delivery of new sporting and community facilities at The Showgrounds.
The proposed project aims to deliver benefits for the local community, schools, sports clubs and charities across the city and wider region.
Description of Proposal:
At the moment the club pitches are not sufficiently equipped to deal with the demand placed on them by club activities and as a result growth is limited. This leads on to a lack of provision for senior, youth, female, community and school engagement within the current site and the proposed project including hybrid pitch and 3G facility offer a solution.
The project concept includes a hybrid stadium pitch, the resurfacing of the rear training pitch from grass to 3G along with provision of associated changing room building and spectator stand together with parking and ancillary site works. It is also planned to widen the existing internal access road to the North of the site to provide two-way vehicle access to the rear pitch while the existing derelict spectator stand is to be removed and the North side standing terraces reduced in width to accommodate the road widening.
The proposed project outlined above will enable Newry City AFC to offer:
- Improvement of facilities for NCAFC teams at all levels.
- Enabling other soccer clubs and sports clubs to use the facilities for their specific activities to help meet their needs.
- A facility to host UEFA, International Representative and domestic show piece games
- Enhancement of community and sporting facilities in Newry and the wider region.
- Potential for school usage and schools programme development.
- Local charities and community groups offered space for activities.
- A venue to host local, regional and international events.
- Revenue created (not for profit) to be invested in volunteers, community programmes and the sustainability of facilities at The Showgrounds.
First Team Manager Darren Mullen commented – “This is terrific news for the club. I know how hard people have worked to get us to this position so it’s great credit to everyone involved. From the outset it has always been a project to help integrate the club with the whole community of Newry to provide facilities that are severely lacking. However, this is only the first step and we know there is still a lot of hard work to follow. The Sub Regional Stadia Fund is a once in a generation opportunity for football clubs, and it’s hugely important that Newry City AFC secure investment as the only ‘designated football ground’ in the council area and indeed wider region. We can see first-hand during these difficult times how important outdoor activity is so hopefully this project can continue to gather pace.”
Strategic Funding Context
Newry City AFC will bid to Strand 2 Department for Communities: Sub Regional Stadia Programme for Soccer, the stated purpose of which is to provide sub-regional stadia which can sit at the hub of key communities and can offer quality football facilities and community facilities which bring revenues into the club tenants, thus making football in these areas more sustainable.
The club are delighted to be working with funding specialist Forsythe Consulting and Architect Cathal Maguire from Milligan Reside Larkin who commented “Milligan Reside Larkin Architects have been delighted to working closely with the NCAFC Board, Forsythe Consulting, local sports groups and the council in the ongoing process to provide a Masterplan for the upgrade and redevelopment of the club’s facilities located within the Greenbank area of Newry. At the outset of the project, after our initial review, we decided to subdivide the design into two planning applications, the first of which, focused on the redesign and specification of the main pitch. The second application focused on wider community shared sport facilities, with a greater consultation period, this being the reason for separate applications. It is fantastic that the Planning Permission has been granted and we can now look forward to receiving possible funding for the works to commence.”