Derry GAA club and housing association join forces to develop 120 new homes and improved sports facilities
A Derry GAA club has been granted planning permission to build more than 100 homes along with improved clubhouse facilities at its grounds in a joint venture with a housing association.
Sean Dolans' GAC and Radius Housing have been given the green light for the £16m development on land once occupied by the Piggery Ridge British army barracks in Derry's Creggan area.
While other GAA clubs have attempted similar mixed housing developments, it is one of the first to obtain planning permission.
The project includes 15 one-bedroom apartments, nine two-bedroom apartments, 50 two-bedroom houses, 37 three-bedroom houses and eight four-bedroom houses at Bligh's Lane.
Derry City and Strabane District Council also granted permission for the extension and refurbishment of the Dolan's' clubhouse.
The club's headquarters were destroyed in an arson attack in 2011 and replaced only by basic changing facilities.
The new development will also include a multi-use community building – including 3G indoor facilities - with new access routes, improved car parking and landscaping.
A club spokesman described the granting of planning permission as a “significant step forward”.
“It is important to remember that not that many years ago, Sean Dolan's was one its knees after an arson attack on our club facilities," he said.
"Indeed, many people within the GAA were questioning the very future of the club.
"However, with the determination of club members, the club was able to deliver a fit-for-purpose set of changing facilities as well as one of the best pitches in the Derry county board area.”
The spokesman said the development would result in lands which were once occupied by the British army being transformed into “a vibrant and welcoming space”.
“We have seen a fantastic surge in support and participation within our club, especially with our playing members both young and old.
"They are our future and are the reason why we are striving so hard to provide facilities which will be the envy of the entire county."
Chris Jackson, chairman of Derry and Strabane's planning committee, said the development would lead to much-needed housing and enhanced community and sports facilities in the area.