Talking rubbish with Peter Hain…

BELFAST City Council is seeking your views on how to transform a 200-acre wasteland (litter-ally: it’s Dargan Road Landfill) on the North Foreshore into an area of “national and regional significance” with an emphasis on “open spaces and recreational facilities”. Rumours that Peter Hain has suggested a new sports stadium are probably unfounded – although you can never really be sure with an opportunist who blows with the wind so much. Anyone who read this morning’s You Ask The Questions in the Independent will be left with no doubt about his ability to U-turn on the spot, although some might be more interested to learn how our Dear Leader manages to “maintain such a rich tan in Northern Ireland, the most cloudy and miserable place on Earth”.

  • Frankly I don’t care what U-turns he manages to pull off here before he lands himself a more important job (is the Deputy PM actually going to do something when they get rid of Prescott?). Now that he’s admitted a stadium in Belfast really would be much better than one in a field somewhere in the countryside near Lisburn, perhaps he could do at least one thing of some value to Northern Ireland and direct the NIO to proceed accordingly and support Belfast City Council’s plans for a stadium at Ormeau Park instead.

  • Pete Baker

    Beano

    I did mention that.. in a sceptical way.. natch.

  • wesley

    “support Belfast City Council’s plans for a stadium at Ormeau Park instead”

    The IFA, IRFU & GAA all support the Maze project.

    A few hundred Belfast based football supporters will not dictate the position of ‘our’ new stadium.

  • We’re all supposed to be eco friendly, but we’re going to have a major stadium in the middle of nowhere with no public transport.

    Getting to places like (from personal experience) Reading’s Majeski Stadium with no car is shite (not to put to fine a point on it). Nothing to do nearby, and usually a two hour wait for a shuttle bus.

  • Actually, I always thought we could use that landfill for a major tourist attraction – Belfast’s ‘sin city’ complete with prostitution, all night drinking, tolerated drugs, and these days maybe even tobacco smoking. It would be a moneyspinner. It would annoy lefties, greenies (all those tourists flying to Belfast, feminists, liberals, Tories and Free Ps, in fact pretty much all Evangelicals at the same time. It would put Belfast on the map, and being stuck down there none of us need even know it exists except for the tax receipts.

    No politician would ever have the balls to suggest this, of course. It might offend too many people.

  • “The IFA, IRFU & GAA all support the Maze project.”

    Money is a powerful motivator.

    “A few hundred Belfast based football supporters will not dictate the position of ‘our’ new stadium. “

    I’m not sure if that’s ignorance or malice talking but rugby fans are totally opposed to the idea and football fans from all over Northern Ireland likewise.

    I’m curious – are you intending to use ‘our’ new stadium or do you live in one of the councils (Lisburn, Antrim, Carrick or Newtownabbey) who will be paying for it? If not, why the slavish support for the government policy which is so clearly about politics and not sport?

  • kelvin

    ‘but rugby fans are totally opposed to the idea’

    Speak for yourself Beano.

    While i doubt the Maze would beat the Ravenhill atmosphere on a Friday night, i would welcome a stadium for all sports in one place.

    Ulster rugby is on the up and a few miles up the m1 can hardly be any worse than sitting for an hour trying to get anywhere near Ravenhill on match night – trust me forget about Ormeau.

  • Crataegus

    We have been through this so many times. The Maze site is bonkers, and the only reason why it is proposed is because the government owns it! It will require massive investment in forming slip roads and bridges across the M1 and does not have a rail connection. You will also need to vest adjoining land to construct the slip roads. Good site for housing, crap for a stadium so sell the site off and invest the money in a site in CENTRAL Belfast.

    Best sites are Maysfield and Ormeau. Don’t let anyone tell you Maysfield is too small it isn’t you can build terraces over rail lines and rivers if you need to. Imagine a Stadium close to a rail station in the heart of the city on the banks of the river with pubs, cafes and other businesses around it. Any fool can see it could work and indeed you may get a lot of private money investing around it. This will not happen if it is located in some field in the back end of nowhere.

    Recently we had threads on the problems of Queens Festival. Imagine the potential of such a stadium for major concerts!

    Sammy

    Actually, I always thought we could use that landfill for a major tourist attraction – Belfast’s ‘sin city’ complete with prostitution, all night drinking, tolerated drugs, and these days maybe even tobacco smoking.

    Sammy I can see you are a man after my own heart, couple this sort of proposal (need more than one) with an economy based on being a tax haven with free ports etc and I bet you would see the economy here boom. Porn, drugs and tax evasion must the fastest growing sectors in the world’s economy.

    If the existing politicians don’t have the balls let’s form a new one called simply SIN. Vote for SIN has an honest ring about it.

  • ALan

    We have been through this so many times. The Maysfield site is bonkers.

    Building over the river when we’ve just started to open it up would be environmental vandalism of the highest order. I’m sure that development of entertainment venues would happen, but in a high value area which already has the most substantial parking problems in Belfast – around the Market.

    We have been through this so many times. The Ormeau site is bonkers.

    You’re talking about distroying the one remaining green space available to working class areas in South and East Belfast. There is already a shortage of pitches available in Belfast, so the dozens of teams who use the Ozone pitches will have nowhere to play. Goodbye health and well-being – hello great white elephant.

  • DK

    Whatever is chosen for the ex-landfill will have to be able to withstand the odd innundation from our rising oceans. So something fairly robust and low-cost, like a giant park, might be the best bet. Set aside some of it for a few football pitches and maybe you can afford to destroy the Ormeau park to build a new stadium there that no-one will be able to drive to or park at.

  • GavBelfast

    I see the trolls (who won’t use a new stadium at the Maze or wherever one’s built) are back in force.

    Whatever about the undoubted merits of a central, Belfast site (in keeping with experience the world over), if I was a a Maze advocate I would be deeply worried that this government, especially this incompetent NIO shower, would ever get something like this, with all the supporting infrastructure required, built anyway.

  • wild turkey

    Sammy M

    ‘Actually, I always thought we could use that landfill for a major tourist attraction – Belfast’s ‘sin city’ complete with prostitution, all night drinking, tolerated drugs, and these days maybe even tobacco smoking. It would be a moneyspinner. It would annoy lefties, greenies ‘

    You’re an effing genius ( and therefore highly unlikely to get a seat on whatever quango of the great and good would oversee such a project)

    anyway, to promote your vision why not start a new political party: SIN FINE.

    On site, do I get to open a stall selling ‘Nuke the Whales’ T-shirts and accessories?

  • gram

    Putting the stadium in the middle of nowhere at Dargan Road would be a joke. It may as well be at the maze.

    Ormeau Park is completely unsuitable. Ormeau and Ravenhill roads are already too busy without plonking a stadium down there.

    The best site in Belfast would be on the river at the Sirrocco (sp) works site. Its already clear (probably getting ready for a teco or more flats). It could then link into the other laganside developments, handy access to the city centre and the M2/M3.

  • Crataegus

    Alan

    Building over the river when we’ve just started to open it up would be environmental vandalism

    No it is not. We already did the vandalism a long time ago by building on the mud flats and in any case any incursion would be marginal. There is more land than you thing around Maysfield and from what I can see the important factor is the area around the rail line and not the river.

    There is good public transport connections to this site and if you ask me it is environmentally the least problematic. Have you given any proper consideration to the slip roads and bridges etc that would be required at the Maze site?

    Maysfield is a seriously good site if a little difficult but often you get a better urban environment from tight fits. It really is worth proper consideration.

    Gav

    I was a a Maze advocate I would be deeply worried that this government, especially this incompetent NIO shower, would ever get something like this, with all the supporting infrastructure required, built anyway.

    From bitter experience that is also one of my concerns. We could end up with a white elephant that is occasionally used. We should get the bloke in that designed the Welsh stadium pick a sensible site and get on with it.

  • Paul

    Yet again, no mention of the largest stakeholders in the project, the GAA.
    Of the three sports, the GAA will provide the largest crowds and the greatest ticket receipts to maintain this stadium once built.

    There is no way that the GAA will sign up to an Ormeau Park stadium.
    It remains unconvinced that GAA families can come to Belfast and enjoy a big match atmosphere free fromt he threat of sectarian abuse.
    Some time ago I challenged backers of the Ormeau site on slugger to persuade GAA fans otherwise. Notably, nobody was able to.

    The GAA, as a nine county Ulster body, would prefer a stadium in a central Ulster location. Dungannon, at the end of the motorway, and no more than two hours drive from all of Ulster would be ideal.
    The Maze site, whilst not ideal, is only drive up the motorway, and from a GAA perspective is preferable to Belfast.
    Moreover, the capacity mooted for the Ormeau stadium is of absolutely no use to the GAA. It needs 40000+. The compromise 35000 seated / 42000 some standing proposal sounds good and all sports should be happy with that.

    If the GAA had absolutley no choice but to choose a Belfast location, this new northshore site would be preferable to the Maze.

  • GavBelfast

    The GAA have no real need for a new stadium and neither it nor fans appear to have any enthusiasm for this – they have ‘bottom lines’ in terms of size and pitch dimensions that mean they could use it, but appear to be going along with the project rather than actually advancing it.

    Casement Park is already there, and a lot of money has been put into Clones, where there is the necessary capacity and gate receipts are free from VAT.

    The Maze idea, the whole silly thing, is barmy.

  • Paul

    GavBelfast,

    Re “The GAA have no real need for a new stadium and neither it nor fans appear to have any enthusiasm for this”

    Massively incorrect!

    The GAA are deadly keen on getting a 40000 + capacity stadium in the North.
    For full details read Section 8.4.3 of GAA Strategic Review report

    re GAA’s stadia requirements:

    One ‘major’ stadium should be developed in each Province with the exception of Leinster; (A ‘major’ stadium would involve a capacity of 40,000 to 60,000, of which at least two-thirds would be seated and a minimum of 35% of the seats
    would be covered.)

    The GAA’s economic case appears to be backed up by an interim report by Department of Economics University College Cork. see

    http://www.ucc.ie/academic/economics/research/workingpapers/03-01.pdf

  • GavBelfast

    Paul,

    Clones? Ulster?

    😉

  • Rory

    In The Independent his answers (or lack thereof) betray him as an evasive, slippery fellow not to be trusted. But the worst is saved until the very last when we learn that…he is a Chelsea supporter! Well, what else could we expect?

  • Paul

    Gav,

    Clones – room to expand, but wrong location.

    Casement – better accessibility than Clones, but no room to expand. Have a gander at google maps to see how confined site is.

    If the GAA is let down by the Govt (not for the first time, eg Lansdowne, Tallaght), and forced to go it alone, I think they should start afresh on a greenfield site.

    Dungannon-ish is the right location – under two houtrs from Cavan, Donegal, North Antrim and South Down. If the GAA is going to spend itro £30/40M of it’s own money, it may as well get the location right.

    The threat of upgrading Clones would be useful in getting concessions out of whatever council they site the stadium in.

  • Nestor Makhno

    I don’t think anyone has to do too much uninformed speculation over whether a city centre stadium will work better than one out in the middle of nowhere.

    The fact is there are many, many solid economic reports available across from the world that show quite uncategorically that city centre stadia are the best option (everywhere from San Francisco’s Giants Stadium to the city of Manchester stadium. The Government’s consultants (PWC) chose to ignore all of this evidence and (in a still secret report) went ahead to recommend the Maze. (Although as anyone knows – if you pay an ‘independent’ consultant they will tell you what you want to hear. And PWC would not bite the hand that feeds it.)

    Ormeau Park seems to be the best location – The current Ozone centre has sheds loads of open space that is not woodland and which is right next to a busy road – this is not quality land we’re talking about.

    Building a stadium there would not threaten enjoyment of the park proper. Put in a footbridge across from the Gasworks and you have a five minute walk from the city centre’s bars, hotels and restaurants.

    What’s not to like?

  • Paul

    Nestor,

    ordinarily, in an ordinary society, very few, myself included, would disagree that city centre sites are best.

    Unfortunately, by quirk of history, we don’t live in an exactly ordinary society.

    As previously stated, the biggest stakeholders in the project won’t consider the Ormeau site (or any central Belfast site) for the simple reason that thwy are not convinced that GAA families can enjoy a big match day without coming under sectarian attention. 40k GAA fans trying to enjoy themselves is deemd to be just too tempting a target to bigots.

    Can anybody persuade the GAA otherwise?

  • Aaron McDaid

    Why the obsession by some with Hain’s apparent tan? Isn’t it the case that there are some medical conditions that result in this? I think JFK had something called Addison’s Disease which caused his “tanned” appearance.

  • nmc

    On the stadium discussion two points spring to mind.

    City centre locations are great, economically they make more sense. However in the case of Belfast and Northern Ireland, we’re tiny. Having a stadium in Lisburn means that you will have to travel for about fifteen minutes to get there.

    As for the rail links to Belfast city centre, again this country is different to places elsewhere. Our rail system is a joke, it is not a network – it has (correct me, I may be wrong) two lines. To travel 26 miles from Ballymena to Belfast on the train (on a Sunday), the longest you may have to wait is 4 hours. To compare with other cities is impossible. It’s so shit, almost no-one uses it to travel within the city, (from Central to Botanic for example). The vast majority of people will have to drive or catch a bus, (including ALL away fans coming here through any airport). As has been already pointed out the traffic here is bad enough, imagine the Ormeau/Ravenhill with an extra 10,000 cars on it. Proximity to the motorway trumps a piss poor train service any day, IMO.

  • GavBelfast

    “Having a stadium in Lisburn means that you will have to travel for about FIFTEEN MINUTES to get there”.

    Is there some way we can hold you to that? Pie in the sky stuff.

    PS. The Maze is NOT in Lisburn, it’s in the countryside three miles from Lisburn.

  • gram

    nmc:As has been already pointed out the traffic here is bad enough, imagine the Ormeau/Ravenhill with an extra 10,000 cars on it. Proximity to the motorway trumps a piss poor train service any day, IMO.<< Completely agree. The whole Ormeau park idea is nuts and was just a case of Belfast city council, seeing the opportunity of a stadium slipping away from them, getting a map and finding the largest available space close to the city centre. It's a residential area where the roads are already saturated.

  • nmc

    Staying on the westlink out of town, travelling to the Maze from Belfast City centre would take how long do you make it? Be sure to include the three miles in your calculations.

    Let’s not get pedantic, it’s a tiny distance. The point I’m making is a reply to international studies about city centre stadia, made above. These studies don’t apply. This country is smaller than every state in the US.

  • Nestor Makhno

    nmc – Agreed – NI public transport is rubbish. We don’t have the population or resources to ever make it work well. Any yes, Lisburn is only 15 minutes from Belfast (unless 40,000 other people are trying to make their way there for a match at the same time as you!)

    But your argument makes the case for Belfast all the more relevant. Public transport is crap in Belfast but at least there are a few options. The only option for the Maze will be bus. And that’s the crappest option of all.

    Imagine the fleet of vehicles (carrying approx. 80 people each) required to transport 40 to 60,000 people out to the stadium on a match day. Even if half choose to take their car (thus denying themselves a drink or two – but I guess people don’t drink when they attend sporting occasions 😉 that is still a logistical nightmare.

    Have you ever tried to use the public transport facilities put in place to ferry people out to the Hallloween fireworks at the Odyssey? That involves moving only about 5,000 people (few of them drunk) to a car park 3/4 of a mile from the city centre and back again. If you haven’t it’s a nightmare.

    And we might need two parallel systems (as with the ferries) to separate competing fans going to the destination?

    Not sure if Translink’s fleet would be up to it.

    But transport is not even the main point. For this project to work financially the stadium has to create a 24/7 entertainment complex where people will chose to visit even when there is no sporting event. Will the Maze site be able to create and sustain such a venture? I don’t think so. Nearby Lisburn can’t even sustain a viable hotel.

  • gram

    Nestor Makhno: The whole of your last post is bobbins which is why I couldn’t be bothered to paste it. 40000 people manage to get in and out of Clones for the Ulster final and have a few pints as well. The last time I checked Clones wasn’t a major public transport hub.

    Being able to get to and from the stadium on reasonably unconjested roads is the main issue and why Ormeau is a non starter.

  • nmc

    My solution to that would be an extension of the existing train line. That sounds like back peddling, as I’ve spent the previous posts rubbishing the train service, but it would be easier and cheaper to extend the rail network to the maze, than it would be to connect the motorway to south east Belfast.

    I should also say that I’m not really in favour of one place or the other, just throwing my thoughts into the mix. There is currently talk of redeveloping the land fill site by the M2, which has motorway access, a nearby train line which could serve the area with the addition of a station and fly-over, and there’s loads of space. This would seem (to me) a more logical choice than elsewhere in the city. Although perhaps there is a reason why this can’t happen, which I’m unaware of.

  • Paul

    Nestor,

    re locating at dargan “Although perhaps there is a reason why this can’t happen, which I’m unaware of.”

    For starters, what about the largest stakeholder’s (ie the GAA’s) concerns over locating in Belfast?

  • Nestor Makhno

    Paul Sorry, wasn’t me who mentioned Dargan. I’d object to it as well. Too disconnected from the city centre. There’s nothing out there.

    gram:40000 people manage to get in and out of Clones for the Ulster final and have a few pints as well. The last time I checked Clones wasn’t a major public transport hub.

    I’ve been to Clones for the Ulster final. On match day it’s hell to get there and hell to get out. And you don’t have Ulster finals twice a week – A ‘national’ stadium, if it’s a success, will be drawing large crowds on a regular basis. Clones would not work if this was the case.

    And there’s bog-all in Clones – the venue adds little or nothing to the day-to-day entertainment economy. The Maze has to draw people every day of the week if it is to work financially.

  • gram

    Nestor Makhno:The Maze has to draw people every day of the week if it is to work financially.

    So how is a stadium in Ormeau going to draw people every day of the week?

    You also seem to be saying transport links are key. If that’s the case the Maze is a better option than Ormeau.

  • The businesses around Ormeau will be open and running happilpy the rest of the year. Any 335 days a year.

    nmc – North Foreshore was ruled out by the SIB because it would cost too much to decontaminate the land (20 million I think?). AFAIK BCC said they would foot the bill for this but were ignored. The extra motorway junction at the Maze is going to cost more than that too.

    Paul – the GAA aren’t necessary to make a Belfast stadium successful so their concerns over the capacity are moot. In fact some people have said that in itself is a reason the Belfast proposals are better – not having 20m of empty space between each end of the football pitch and the crowd. Also, the smaller stadium would be great because it would seem less empty when things aren’t going so well.

    To whoever suggested I was “speaking for myself” about rugby fans being against the Maze, I am not. I am not much of a rugby fan (not enough to go to a match anyway). However if he had cared to investigate the site I linked to, there is:
    1) A link to a now defunct rugby fans petition
    2) Details of a rugby fans survey run by Ulternative Alster – a rugby fanzine. For those too lazy 18% backed the Maze, and 16% only for “bigger games”.

    There’s stuff about the Amalgamation of NISCs poll on there too somewhere and I don’t think anywhere near 10,000 cars would be trying to get to a stadium at Ormeau Park before a match. This is one of the benefits of a city-centre location. Why?
    a) Some will make a day of it; therefore the crowd builds up more slowly
    b) Many will walk
    c) More will get a bus/train, then walk.
    d) The capacity will only be 25k(ish)

  • To clarify – 16% of rugby fans surveyed wanted to play bigger games at the Maze, 2% wanted to move outright (giving 18% total). The rest wanted to stay at Ravenhill and(51%)/or(16%) play in a new Belfast stadium, except for 7% who wanted go groundshare (I don’t know what that’s about).

  • roger

    “the GAA aren’t necessary to make a Belfast stadium successful so their concerns over the capacity are moot.”

    I think this is why the unionist/loyalist fotball support are so in favour of the Belfast site.

    Keep the taigs out and build it close to a few loyalist paramilitary bars in the lower Ravenhill.

    Just like their present home.

  • big jim

    from IFA research

    A total of 74 per cent of people surveyed by MORI Ireland said that they were in favour of a new National Stadium in Northern Ireland.

    http://www.irishfa.com/the-ifa/news/2805/national-stadium-research/

    I take it the seven or eight contributers here who constantly post about being against the Maze, are in the 26% minority ?

    I’m with Gerry Armstrong on this one, ‘the Ormeau is a stupid idea’.

  • hercules

    nmc – North Foreshore was ruled out by the SIB because it would cost too much to decontaminate the land (20 million I think?). AFAIK BCC said they would foot the bill for this but were ignored. The extra motorway junction at the Maze is going to cost more than that too.

    Posted by beano.

    Actually, you’d need to check your facts again. The North Foreshore (and not the proposed Giant’s Park section of it), was earlier, the Gov. preferred stadium location in Belfast, because of its access to motorways and rail, thereby making it more easily accessible to all communities.

  • Crataegus

    I will leave all you sports fans to argue among yourselves as to who wants what and what size.

    Several points; it can be built in a fashion that can be enlarged later if that cansideration is there in the first place.

    It is not just the stadium that we should be interested in, but the spin off benefits and ancillary development. We also need to consider the long term financial viability and how we maximise usage.

    I am a developer and in my opinion the Maze site is a turkey, and potentially a very expensive one. I am not infallible but I wouldn’t invest one penny in any ancillary development unless the purpose was clear and there was massive infrastructure improvements.

    If you go to a match there there is sod all to do before hand and nowhere to go after. But of course some of you will say private investors will be dieing to develop all round it. No they won’t what do potential tenants live on between matches? We could propose developing the area as another out of town shopping centre? One with a Stadium and lots of surface car parking; novel concept, really appealing

    You may as well build it in the middle of a cemetery.

    We have been over this so many times and we all know each others views best to agree to differ.

  • “Our rail system is a joke, it is not a network – it has (correct me, I may be wrong) two lines.”

    Actually, if you’re NIR, it’s six – Bangor, Portadown, Larne, Stroke City, Portrush and Cross-Border (although of course anyone with half a brain realises that that’s really only three, but then NIR would have to make three of their line managers redundant).

    I’m just curious how many of these footy fans who claim that Ormeau has great rail access have ever actually USED the train service on a regular basis?

  • GavBelfast

    “We have been over this so many times and we all know each others views best to agree to differ.”

    Indeed, though I know many prople who were pro-Maze who have now gone right off the idea, as they have looked at other stadiums in other cities, reflected on the ham-fisted nature of this, or just realised that this is politically rather than sense-driven.

    This subject also seems to bring out an awful lot of trolling – how sad is it to make-up multiple identities just to pedal the usual prejudices any time anything to do with NI sport, especially football, comes up?

  • Crataegus

    NIRSucks

    If we don’t plan around the rail network then it never will improve, for it will never be a volume transport provider. We have to make rail and tram and bus part of our transport solutions, we simply cannot afford to continually rely 99% on cars.

    I agree NIR is abysmal and that is me being polite. It is run by a company that has no interest whatsoever in rail transport and that is another issue that we need to address.

  • GavBelfast

    On the subject of rail, it’s quite simple that rail will nevrer be right, or at least as good as it could be, while the same people run it as run the buses, treating the rail as a secondary after-thought.

    One for a local minister to treat as a priority if and when the local administration is up and running again.

    The local assembly is also an opportunity for the dopey Maze idea to be binned once and for all.

  • paul

    RE: “the GAA aren’t necessary to make a Belfast stadium successful so their concerns over the capacity are moot.”

    I find this attitude offensive.
    Surely no public support, direct or otherwise (eg handing over a public park) should be given to any project that excludes gaelic football, ie the field sport that attracts the largest attendences in this part of the world.

    How could the backers of any such project claim it is for the benefit of the whole community, when it excludes a huge swathe of the North’s population?

    I imagine it would be fought all the way on equality grounds. The GAA still have a bad taste in their mouths about the Govt gifting the rebuilding of Windsor in 1983, whilst denying the same help to gaelic games – even though it had much higher crowds and poorer facilities.

    Am I alone in thinking that there’s a whiff of “not a tiag about the place” in suggesting the GAA are frowzen out?

    Surely it makes more sense to pool resources and build one multi sports stadium, rather than build segregated duplicated ones.

  • laganside

    paul

    The fact is that n.i football supporters don’t want to go to the Maze because they would have to share the ground with the gaa.

    The whole Belfast ’25k seater stadium’ idea is Unionism trying to get a new ‘orangedome’ to replace the old one at Windsor Park

  • gram

    GavBelfast:>Indeed, though I know many prople who were pro-Maze who have now gone right off the idea, as they have looked at other stadiums in other cities, reflected on the ham-fisted nature of this, or just realised that this is politically rather than sense-driven.<< I'm one of these people. However Belfast has not come up with a viable location yet.

  • Crataegus

    Gram

    However Belfast has not come up with a viable location yet.

    The problem really isn’t the site it is the will to make it happen and a lack of vision that is missing. The maze is a decision by people who really don’t care, who obviously don’t feel any real involvement.

    Who is going to waste time and money when they think it is a done deal out at the Maze?

    We should be looking at this opportunity positively, try to provide a good stadium for all sports and maximise other use. We want a stadium that is used by all, one that everyone is proud of. An asset and not a liability. One that maximises spin off development and regeneration; one that can be accessed by public transport; a stadium that is part of the urban environment not something separate and aloof.

    Scrap the Maze idea, set the criteria and see what people come up with.

  • Paul

    mmm…. it looks like this thread is closing.
    Yet again, no backers of the Belfast bid are prepared to come up with any attempt to persuade the GAA that they’re safe coming to the Ormeau Road.
    Says it all.
    Laganside & Roger, I’m beginning to agree with you that all these guys want is a more modern version of Windsor for themselves.
    No genuine attempt at inclusivity.
    Location, pitch size, capacity, etc are all just excuses.

  • graham

    ‘We should be looking at this opportunity positively, try to provide a good stadium for all sports and maximise other use’

    The problem is that the supporters of the n.i football team don’t want ‘all’ sports involved, so how can you maximise potential when some are trying to exclude the sport which has by far, the biggest spectator base (GAA).

    I commend the ruling bodies of the IFA,GAA & IRFU for backing the Maze project, a new start in a neutral venue.

  • Crataegus

    If the various sports don’t get their act together and agree a common brief for all needs; a stadium with adequate capacity for every occasion then there is no point building any stadium anywhere. Why waste money? There are plenty of other worthwhile projects.

    The way round this is to appoint architects and let them make what they can of it and if the GAA or NI football don’t want to use the facility their problem. It strikes me that there are all sorts of political games and undercurrents here.

    As for Ormeau Park being unsafe are you serious? Lower Ormeau and Markets Nationalist and there will be a foot bridge. North and South Parade utterly neutral. Most of Ravenhill middle class and neutral. Lower Ravenhill problematic but changing, Upper Ormeau yuppifing.

    I have better reason than most to fear Loyalist gangsters but I have NEVER been in anyway worried whilst walking through or to and from Ormeau park. If in doubt use the Ormeau Road and avoid the very bottom of Ravenhill. A bigger problem would be partisan crowds going to the match and that potential is there no matter where the stadium is located.

    If you want private investment forget the maze, it won’t happen unless developers can develop the rest of the site in a manner that enables profit. Those with the money usually get what they want.

  • Crat,

    “I have better reason than most to fear Loyalist gangsters”

    You’re Polish? 😉