In or out? (of the city)

A Belfast City Council commissioned University of Ulster report has recommended an in-city venue for the proposed national stadium with a joint public-private partnership for its development (Full report here pdf file). One of the report’s authors, economist Mike Smith, projects a potential value of the Maze site for the government of between £365 to £550 million. Yesterday, DCAL Minister Poots upped the ante when he imposed a deadline of only 11 days for a Belfast proposal. The final decision will lay with the Executive and in particular, the Department of Finance and Personnel. With water charges and rate reform looming large and a long list of vital capital projects, will the other options be more tempting for Peter Robinson and others?

  • Definitely Out.

  • Oops, sorry, I menan “In”.

  • slug

    The Lisburn site is ideal to be sold off as housing land, and the money (£500m) will be useful.

    The stadium is pretty obviously better to be sited in a part of Belfast, preferably a brownfield site where there is scope for positive spillovers in terms of redevelopment.

    This will be best for fans, best for logistics, best for sport, and best for development potential.

  • Aaron S

    “The Lisburn site is ideal to be sold off as housing land”

    you’ve obviously never been downwind of the abbatoir

    (though i have no idea if it’s that still there)

  • 11 days – he must be seriously in favour of the Maze option then!

    What will the transport links be like? Is that being left to the tender mercies of Translink? Will there be trains? Carparking? Will there be punitive carpark charges to drive revenue to Translink?

    Don’t know why I’m worried – I’ve only been to three sports events in my life, and a new stadium miles away isn’t likely to change that!

  • Paul

    Yesterday, DCAL Minister Poots upped the ante when he imposed a deadline of only 11 days for a Belfast proposal


    A multi-sports stadium must be delivered to meet the 2012 Olympics timetable,

    One or two months more, whilst all the facts about both option are revealed to the public and considered won’t make that much difference to the 2012 Olympics timetable (what are we getting by the way, is greyhound racing or darts being made an Olympic sport?)

    And talking about “facts being revealed to the public”, when exactly is the bould Edwin going to give us the full up to date run down on the financial implications of the Maze proposals; what exactly is he and the NIO worried about…surely the figures stack up?

  • sam

    They can build it wherever they want, just forget about ruining the Ormeau Park & surrounding area.

    Personally, i don’t see the need for a new stadium when they all have their own grounds anyway.

  • nmc

    Is the problem not funding at this stage? I was under the impression there were numerous studies recommending a Belfast stadium, but no-one has any idea where to get cash for it from, is this not the case?

    In that situation we can either build at the maze or as Sam says build nothing. What’s it to be?

  • Globetrotter

    Build nothing. Splash a bit of cash and upgrade the three existing grounds. Everyone happy, except maybe the developers.

  • doug


    Sounds good, only let them splash their own cash if they want to make improvemnets to their own grounds.

  • joeCanuck

    We went through a similar argument in the mid-eighties in Toronto.
    It was a close run argument but the decision was eventually made to build (then Skydome, now The Rodger’s Center) right down town.
    I don’t believe anyone now believes that the decision was wrong. The additional entertainment and accomodation built around the stadium brought a lot of prosperity to what was a rundown area (old railway grounds).
    Only one chance to get this right. Good luck.

  • gram

    The most interesting comments are on the last page, p91. They state that the research team are not convinced that all alternative Belfast sites have been considered.

    Throughout this debate I’ve always believed that Belfast city council chose Ormeau park based on where they could fit a big white oval shape on a map of the city.

  • I’ve always thought Duncrue was the logical Belfast site – handy for the motorway, a new railway halt can be built there easily enough, acres and acres of unused land and still only 2 miles from the City Hall.

    Building on Ormeau Park would be a travesty.

  • When just about every other stadium in the UK is built in a big city, why would anyone think of sticking something in the County Down countryside, far from hotels, bars and restaurants etc.? Only in Norn Iron. The mind boggles.

  • GavBelfast

    I’ve always thought Duncrue was the logical Belfast site – handy for the motorway, a new railway halt can be built there easily enough, acres and acres of unused land and still only 2 miles from the City Hall.
    Building on Ormeau Park would be a travesty.
    Posted by Sammy Morse on Jun 20, 2007 @ 05:51 PM

    And don’t Belfast council have to clean this up anyway (or they may even be in the process of doing so)? An interesting idea.

    Good call, Joe (post 11), but Edwin Poots seems intent on rail-roadiung this through, though I would have thought that’s bound to see it landing in court.

  • gary c

    I’m a Northern Ireland fan and I would quite like it to be located at the Maze as do many NI fans. However there is a campaign run by certain supporters groups, bordering on intimidation, against fans who don’t want the hassle of a stadium in Belfast -especially Ormeau Park taking into account the nightmare traffic congestion that already exists on the Ormeau and Ravenhill Roads.
    Fair play to Poots for holding his ground on this issue!

  • Cruimh

    Crazy to put a stadium in the middle of nowhere –
    might as well consider flying fans free to the Millenium dome.

    The Maze shuld be turned into a public park and wild life reserve.

  • keep on keeping on

    Speaking of the Millenium Dome, has Ian Dowie lodged an appeal against last week’s court judgment?

  • Cruimh

    One thing that could be worth considering – there is a massive shortage of prison acomodation – if the Maze was refurbished as a medium or high security prison, we could use it to generate income from the parts of the UK that are considering letting prisoners out because they are so short of space.

  • qubol

    I think ormeau park is a pretty good location – considering it’s location you wouldn’t need to put a massive amount of carparking onsite and a footbridge over the lagan would bring you directly into Central Station. Park and Ride would work for most people. The proposed area is also in the part of the park least used – its football pitches at the minute so it wouldn’t be built on the main part of the park.

  • mojo

    If you think most fans will use trains and Park and Ride, then you are a screwball, qubol.

    If its to be built in Belfast, then somewhere in the Docks is the only realistic option.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Building this thing out in the middle of nowhere is an absurd idea, I can’t believe that anyone thinks it makes sense.

    There is plenty of space in inner city Belfast – as people have said, around the docks. Plenty of space, and close to the motorway, railways, and the main bus station.

  • Cruimh

    It would be a shame to see the Ormeau park built on – mind you, if last time I was there is anything to go by it needs a bit of attention.

  • mojo

    not as much as the Docks, Cruimh

  • vinty

    ‘The Maze shuld be turned into a public park and wild life reserve’

    Some would say Windsor is already a nature reserve going by some of the tattooed loyalist knuckle draggers that frequent the place.

  • terry

    No need for a stadium in Belfast, there isn’t the interest in football or rugby to justify one penny of tax payers money or rates on it.

    You want a stadium build it yourselves.

    The IRFU & IFA have shown their support for the Maze but if the football crowd don’t want it, let them watch the games in the big pigeon loft on the Lisburn road.

    Not a cent of public money.

  • IJP

    Nobody doubts a city centre location is better than the Maze in principle.

    But, which city centre location, and how will it be funded?

    I think people have every right lose patience with people who keep banging on about the case for city centre without clarifying a precise location and, more importantly still, how such a location is to be funded.

    PS: By “city” I mean Belfast.

  • GavBelfast

    Here come the trolls again, regular as clockwork, ….

  • I wonder…

    I think Im right in saying that the infrastructural costs for the Maze development are prohibitive compared to Belfast (Duncrue or Ormeau.) I agree with Sammy that Ormeau would be a travesty. Time for something new and vibrant to go where there’s nowt right now – not to take away a Belfast *lung.*

  • gram

    I think the minister effectively torpedoed the Ormeau park idea with his comments yesterday. Local residents, who stand to see their house prices plummet, will oppose planning permission anyway at Ormeau.

  • Edwin Poots Elephant Man

    With Edwin poots in charge god help us all – it’s gonna be the maze – the decision has already been made – the 11 days is just a sop to those against the idea so that he can say that he at least considered other options

  • doug

    The other group claiming to want to build a stadium have produced nothing, other than a drawing in the Ormeau Park.

    No plans, no investors, no concrete proposals, no finacial backing.

    The Ormeau park is an absolute no no, and the North foreshore is being set aside for all the people of the city, not just a few thousand football supporters.

  • If it’d been built instead of the fecking Odyssey in the first place! >:-(

    Do they still actually have an ice hockey team?

  • doug

    They still have quite a good ice hockey team, a team that was drawing bigger crowds that northern ireland were several years ago.