Carrick Rangers FC receive green light for two new stands

Planning permission has been approved for two new stands at Carrick Rangers Football Club.

Carrick's home ground at Taylor's Avenue.
Carrick's home ground at Taylor's Avenue.

The existing west stand at Taylor’s 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 new changing rooms, toilets and first floor viewing lounge and educational and training rooms, turnstiles and security/media tower.

There will also be a new 635-seater east stand and repositioning of floodlights and fencing.

The application was given the go-ahead at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday morning. The council leases the grounds to Carrick Rangers.

The main concern raised in one letter of objection, whilst acknowledging the need for a stadium, was concern regarding “car parking problems”.

However, there were no objections put forward by the Department for Infrastructure (roads) following consultation.

Planning Committee members were told that there are marshals to manage traffic and access arrangements on match days. These have to be agreed with the PSNI in advance for safety reasons.

Proposing the committee approved the planning application, Larne Lough Alliance Councillor Robert Logan said: “It is very much needed at Carrick Rangers.”

The proposal was seconded by party colleague Knockagh Alderman Noel Williams.

Earlier this week, the Department for Communities (DfC) was 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. Following the return of power-sharing at Stormont in January this year, the Executive stated its intention to complete the programme.

The three clubs recently submitted their responses to a DfC evidence-gathering survey on regional stadia facilities in Northern Ireland which aimed to identify strategic priorities for the development of soccer and on Tuesday a meeting took place with DfC officials to press for funding.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Peter Johnston said afterwards:  “I commend the hard work and commitment of our three football clubs who, together with Council, are lobbying for this much-needed and long overdue investment.”

The issue of stadia funding is also to be raised with Communities Minister Caral NiChuilin by East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons.

Mr Lyons commented: “I was hugely impressed to hear the collective vision of the MEA United group during a meeting last week and I fully support their efforts to progress the release of funding to upgrade our football grounds.

“It is hugely frustrating that almost a decade on from initial conversations around regional stadia funding, that this crucial work remains undelivered.

“I will be raising this with the minister and I will continue to give MEA United my full backing.” Read more here

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.


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