Carrick Rangers FC lodges plans for new clubhouse and changing facilities
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The club has also proposed new changing and multi-purpose community room at its Taylors Avenue grounds which are leased to Carrick Rangers by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
In September 2020, the club was granted planning permission by the local authority for two new stands. The existing west stand at Taylors Avenue will be demolished to make way for a replacement which will be able to accommodate up to 568 fans.
There will also be provision for a first floor viewing lounge and educational and training rooms, turnstiles and security / media tower.
Plans also include a new 635-seater east stand and repositioning of floodlights and fencing.
The Department for Communities (DfC) has been urged to progress the distribution of funding earmarked for investment in football grounds in Northern Ireland which would contribute to finance for development of the new facilities at Carrick Rangers.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, in association with Carrick Rangers, Larne FC and Ballymena United, is bidding for £17m funding.
In 2015, the Northern Ireland Executive allocated £36m for a stadia funding programme for local football through the sub-regional stadia programme.
Commenting on the current planning application, Knockagh DUP Councillor Marc Collins, who has supported the campaign for sub-regional stadia funding, said: “It’s great to see this investment at Taylors Avenue, where the facilities have been well under par for so long. The chairman, board members and volunteers at Carrick Rangers have done a superb job in upgrading smaller aspects of the ground with a limited budget but we all recognise that the existing infrastructure is well beyond its lifespan.
“These new facilities will provide a major boost to the club. To have a Premiership level club playing out of ‘portacabin’ changing rooms is nothing short of scandalous, so to see these new changing rooms, referees’ room, physio room, as well as community facilities, is a real breath of fresh air.
“Carrick Rangers have ambitious, but measured, plans for redevelopment of the stadium. Unfortunately, we are still awaiting the release of the sub-regional stadia funding, which could benefit so many local clubs to develop their facilities and what they can offer to the local community – this must be made a priority upon the return of an Executive.”
“I applaud everyone involved at Carrick Rangers’ FC for their continued commitment and work to redevelop their facilities, and I will continue to support them in any way possible.”