Saintfield centre gets £500k boost

Saintfield centre gets £500k boost

8 August 2018

PLANS to build a new £1.4m community and indoor sports facility in Saintfield have received a major boost.

Work on the project at a former industrial warehouse at the Belfast Road started last month and the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership has confirmed it is contributing £500,000 towards the overall cost of the eagerly-awaited scheme.

Work on the exciting new development is expected to be completed in the New Year with the project driven by the Saintfield Development Association with support from Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

There are three buildings at the Belfast Road site, the largest of which will house an indoor synthetic pitch, changing facilities and toilets.

One of the other buildings will house a main hall, studio area, meeting room, toilets and a large entrance/foyer area with glazing to provide attractive views over the neighbouring mill pond and surrounding area. The remaining space in this building is expected to be developed at a later date.

Extensive site works are also planned as part of the new development including changes to the main entrance, the removal of a boundary wall and gates and cutting back and pruning trees.

Overgrown vegetation will also be removed, with new fencing, gates and footpaths also proposed, alongside new planting and landscaping, external seating and lighting. Extensive car parking will also be provided.

The formal announcement of £500,000 funding from the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership will be confirmed during a special event this Friday morning at the site of the new complex.

Rowallane councillors, Robert Burgess and Terry Andrews, are delighted with the financial support and that work on the new centre is underway and due to be completed in early 2019.

“People in Saintfield and the wider area will be delighted this much-needed new facility is literally within touching distance,” said Cllr Burgess. “The new centre has the backing of everyone in the town and is a major boost for an area which has missed out on significant public sector investment over many years.”

He praised the role of various individuals and organisations involved in the drive to provide the new centre, including the Saintfield Development Association, the former Down Council and its successor, Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

Cllr Burgess said while the project was first suggested several years ago, he is thrilled it has now reached this stage and should open its doors sometime in the New Year.

“The proposal has widespread public support, with local sports clubs also fully behind this new multi-use centre. Local people have been at the heart of the campaign to secure it and should be very proud of their collective effort,” he continued.

The Rowallane politician said many people have invested considerable time, effort and energy into the project which is edging towards the finishing line, providing much-needed accommodation for a variety of sports clubs and community groups.

Cllr Andrews said the development of the new centre marks an important milestone for the people of Saintfield who have waited so long for such a facility.

He added: “The offer of £500,000 from the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership is tremendous news. I wish to thank everyone involved in the project who worked tirelessly over many years, some of whom are sadly no longer with us.”

A spokeswoman for Newry, Mourne and Down Council confirmed the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership will contribute £500,000 towards the overall cost of new community centre.

She said work on the development started last month and it is hoped it will be completed early in the New Year.