03/04/2008

Mayor Welcomes Shared Stadium

As controversy continues to plague the proposed development of as multi-sports centre at the former Maze Prison site, ambitious plans are being kicked off for a sporting ground in Newtownabbey.

The 4,000-seater ground is to be the centrepiece of a groundbreaking, cross-community proposal from both Crusaders FC and the amateur league side, Newington YC.

The Carnegie Premier League team have just re-opened talks with Newtownabbey Council over moving its grounds from north Belfast's Shore Road to a proposed new stadium at the Valley Leisure Centre.

Speaking to 4ni, Newtownabbey Mayor, Nigel Hamilton has said he is supporting the development.

"This proposal for a shared facility is very welcome and although it is early days - and there's a considerable amount of work still to be done on the concept - it will enhance the Borough as a whole and the Valley Park area specifically."

He also said that funding, through the EC, is still being sought and noted that team officials have requested a chance to address local councillors on their 'concept plan' to ground-share with amateur league side Newington YC at the new stadium.

They have already met with leading Borough figures to discuss the plans that also include a soccer dome and a sports residential village.

The idea of a move to a new stadium was brought to a Crusaders Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in March, attended by around 100 people.

At the EGM there was unanimous backing for proposals to sell its current north Belfast ground at Seaview, to begin work on a new stadium with Newington YC and to review the governance of the club with a view to setting up a separate stadium company.

Since the early 1920s, Crusaders have played at Seaview on the Shore Road. It is believed a number of developers are interested in buying their ground.

The proposal is said to be cross community in nature, with this element playing an important part in enhancing the management of valuable public space.

(BMcC)


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