Saintfield sports site gets closer

Saintfield sports site gets closer

6 September 2017

THE eagerly-awaited development of a new community and sports facility in Saintfield will take a major step forward shortly.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is hoping to submit a formal planning application to redevelop a former warehouse at the Belfast Road in the town to provide an ultra-modern facility which has been in the planning for some time.

The local authority has been working alongside the Saintfield Development Association to develop new facilities, with both organisations meeting in June when they were joined by officials from local sports clubs. Some changes have been made to the original proposal for the Belfast Road site, with detailed drawings prepared by council officers currently being examined by Development Association officials.

There are three buildings at the Belfast Road site the largest of which will house an indoor synthetic pitch, changing facilities and toilets, with council officials confident the layout lends itself to soccer and Gaelic training. The pitch is also large enough to accommodate three five-a-side pitches.

One of the other buildings will house a main hall, studio area, meeting room, kitchen, toilets and a a large entrance/foyer area with considerable glazing to provide attractive views over the neighbouring mill pond and surrounding area. Council officials say the remaining space in this building will 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.

New fencing, gates and footpaths are proposed, in tandem with a dedicated turning lane into the facility. A car parking area will be upgraded, with new planting and landscaping also proposed alongside external seating a lighting.

Council officials are planning a further meeting with the Development Association this month before the formal planning application for the Belfast Road site is lodged.

In addition to the new community and sports facility, Saintfield is also in line for a new synthetic sports pitch.

The local council has secured planning approval to redevelop an existing shale hockey pitch at The Demesne, with work to provide the new surface expected to start within the next few months.

The new sand-dressed sports pitch, which will feature perimeter fencing and dugouts, will meet international hockey standards, with the surface suitable for a wide range of training and other sports.

Planning permission was secured at the end of June and work is now underway to compile topographical surveys and site investigation reports to establish ground conditions for drainage purposes. Council officials expect work to begin between now and Christmas with the new pitch expected to be ready for use by next spring.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council official Michael Lipsett said the local authority was committed to the new synthetic pitch at The Demesne and the development of the community and sports facility at the Belfast Road.

Writing in the latest edition of Saintfield News he added: “Newry, Mourne and Down Council is committed to both these proposals with the upgrade of the shale hockey pitch and the development of the Belfast Road site in our capital works programme since the start of the new council in 2015.”