31/03/2005

Government plumps for Maze as site for national stadium

The site of a new Northern Ireland multi-sports stadium can only be housed at the former Maze prison site in Co Antrim, the Government has said.

Finance Minister Ian Pearson said on Wednesday that he intends to put the design of the 365-acre site out to tender after sites at Titanic Quarter and the North Foreshore of Belfast Lough were rejected.

The Minister said the masterplanning exercise would be centred on the concepts at the heart of the cross-party Maze Consultation Panel – a multi-sports stadium and an International Centre for Conflict Transformation (ICCT).

Mr Pearson said: “This work will embrace everything from a strategic design and plan for the site to the preparation of traffic, transport and environmental assessments required for planning processes. A team will be appointed in the coming weeks and I have asked for a full plan to be drawn up by the autumn.”

The new stadium, if and when it comes to fruition, will see a 30,000 seat arena for soccer, rugby and GAA, a zone for industrial development, an arts centre and an international equestrian centre.

The Maze Consultation Panel, in issuing its report to the Government, said it believes the development could lead to £1bn of public and private investment.

(MB/SP)

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