Construction work at the long-awaited Longford GAA Centre of Excellence at Lyneen, Killashee is expected to begin in March of this year, according to Longford County Board Chairperson Brendan Gilmore. The news comes after the organisation was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanala on Friday, December 21st last, almost two years after the original application was submitted.
Longford Co Council initially granted permission for the €3m development in February 2010, but following a successful appeal to An Bord Pleanala by Bernadette O’Dowd, Lyneen, Killashee, care of Vitruvis Hibernicus Ltd, Convent Rd, Longford and Terry Warren of 2, Beechill Crescent, Donnybrook, Dublin, the county board was forced to return to the drawing board.
A second revised application was granted permission in October 2011, but was once again appealed the following month to An Bord Pleanala by Terry Warren of 2 Beechill Crescent, Donnybrook, Dublin and by Bernadette O’Dowd care of Vitruvius Hibernicus Limited of Convent Road, Longford. An Bord Pleanala eventually granted permission late last month, subject to a total of 17 conditions.
The conditions, which were outlined in a report issued by the planning board, included clarification on the facility’s opening hours, which will be from 6am to 10pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 10pm at weekends in the interest of the residential amenities of properties in the vicinity. In the interest of traffic safety it was ordered that the operational hours of the facility’s floodlights, which will be designed to minimise light pollution, should not exceed 10pm. Ball nets erected behind each goal are to be only extended during matches and training sessions in the interest of visual amenity.
Water supply and drainage arrangements, including the disposal of surface water are to strictly comply with the requirements of the planning authority and the development will be connected to the mains water supply.
The reports also states that all planting which is damaged, removed, or diseased within a period of five years from the completion of the development work is to be replaced within the next planting season.
The site will consist of three all weather training pitches, 18 floodlights a 1,392m sq clubhouse - scaled down from 1,800msq in original proposals - and the widening of the existing entrance and a car park with 115 parking spaces, including 6 spaces each for disabled and bus and coach parking.
The clubhouse itself will comprise at ground floor level of six dressing rooms - reduced from the originally proposed number of eight - a gymnasium, first aid room, referee’s dressing room, entrance/lobby, kitchen, dining/team meeting room, two offices, toilets, showers and physiotherapy room. The first floor level will feature a weights room, plant room, and meeting room.
Speaking to the Leader this week, Mr Gilmore said that he hopes work will begin in March of this year. He also confirmed that the construction contract will go to tender following meetings with relevant authorities. “We’re not going to dive right in”, he said. “We will put the contract out to tender, weigh up our options and give all interested parties a fair crack of the whip. We will set up a committee design team and take it from there.”
Mr Gilmore also said that it was his understanding that a limited amount of funds would be available to draw down from the provincial board. “There is a small amount of money available from Leinster GAA and that will be supplemented by our own funds. We need time to took at finance and we will meet with Leinster GAA to discuss this.”
Mr Gilmore said he hoped the facility would be available for use by 2016.