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‘Travesty’ if elite sporting facility fails

CALLS have been made to support Strabane’s Athletic’s proposal for a new state of the art sporting facility for the town, ahead of a planning meeting at council this week.

Speaking as one of the founding members of the club, Cllr Raymond Barr this week claimed that it was be a “travesty” if this project is shoved off the table.

It is seven years since Strabane Athletic Football club (AFC) announced plans to develop its very own elite sporting complex, which will include an outdoor pitch as well as Ireland’s first full size indoor 3G pitch. Plans included a well-being centre, community/youth facilities, associated facilities for the indoor and outdoor pitches, office accommodation, as well as conferencing, exhibition and events space.

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“Officials of Strabane Athletic FC are concerned at the delay in processing their planning application for a state of the art multi sports complex in Strabane,” Cllr Barr said this week. “The application has been beset with problems and delays in moving the process forward. The club could even be forgiven for believing someone does not want this application to succeed.”

Cllr Barr said the main issues up until recently was the opinion of planners that the project was not “regionally significant” and the fact that access would be from the bypass.

“The fact that the development will boast a full sized indoor pitch, the only one of its kind on the island, an outdoor pitch, conference hall, catering for boxing, bowls and archery among other sports; the benefits in terms of health, working in conjunction with the EA and schools, tackling problems such as obesity and mental health, attracting usage from other clubs outside the district with the obvious positive economical knock on… surely all of this makes this project regionally significant.

“In terms of access, a precedent has surely been set with similar access being granted for a housing development nearby. I recently requested a meeting with planners and local reps but the meeting was not granted. I feel it would be a travesty if this development were not allowed to proceed and would urge everyone to vociferously support the club on this project.”

The next meeting of council’s Planning Committee will take place on Wednesday.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 4 Castle Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AB