Northern Ireland

GAA submits new planning application for Casement Park

An aerial view of the new stadium Image copyright Gaa
Image caption An aerial view of the proposed stadium at Casement Park as unveiled by the GAA in October 2016

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has submitted a new planning application to build a controversial stadium at Casement Park, west Belfast.

The new stadium has a proposed capacity of 34,186 - down by almost 4,000 on the GAA's original plan.

It is the latest planning application after the multi-million pound project was beset with problems and delays.

A residents' group had objected to the new plans and said the lower capacity was "not a significant reduction".

'Bullied'

Ulster GAA said the planning application came after an "unprecedented" 32-week consultation.

Planning permission for the sports stadium was overturned in 2014 after objections by local residents.

Image copyright GAA
Image caption Ulster GAA said the safety group considered the plans "sufficiently developed" for the target capacity

The GAA unveiled fresh plans for the stadium last October.

It said height, scale and capacity were all reduced from the previous design and that it was aiming to work within the original budget of £76m.

In confirming the latest planning application, Ulster GAA said it had received 95% approval from about 3,000 people who responded to the stadium consultation.

Image copyright GAA
Image caption GAA representatives posed with copies of their new planning application

It said it had also received a positive report from the Safety Technical Group (STG), an advisory body which oversees the construction of new stadiums in Northern Ireland.

This report has not been made public, despite requests by the BBC to see the document.

The original plans for the stadium were embroiled in controversy when Paul Scott, then head of the STG, claimed he was bullied after he raised concerns that the stadium could not be evacuated safely in emergencies.

Image caption An aerial view of the old Casement Park stadium

Mr Scott has since been replaced as head of the STG by former Omagh District Council chief executive Danny McSorley.

'Listened'

Ulster GAA said that the STG found that the plans were "sufficiently developed, and in accordance with safety legislation and guidance, at this stage to provide a sound basis for development towards the GAA's target capacity of 34,186".

Tom Daly, chairman of the Casement Park Project Board, said the GAA had "listened, learned and acted" in submitting the new plans.

"We are delighted with the overwhelming support the project has received with 95% of people that responded being in favour of the scheme and also with the positive endorsement we received from the Safety Technical Group," he said.

Related Topics

More on this story