Plans from a few years back have been scrapped, but that doesn’t mean Northern Ireland isn’t getting a new national venue. Or almost new as one of the Windsor Park stands is to be left untouched.
Do you recall the 2007 design by Populous, envisaging a 38,500-seater in Lisburn, on site of what used to be Maze Prison? Well, Maze Stadium is nowhere near happening. And not only because of the IRA-connected controversy. It was simply much too expensive to be done.
But the need for a new representative venue for Northern Ireland is prevalent. Since 2008 the only ground meeting requirements of both FIFA and UEFA is Windsor Park and it barely fulfills them.
That’s why Irish Football Association just started public consultations on a new idea. A lot cheaper, but still sounding like a proper plan. Three new stands at Windsor Park to be built at a cost of £29 million should be ready in 2015.
Photo: The Irish FA
Of course it’s still a long way to go with consultations just launched in 7 locations in Belfast. First reactions show great enthusiasm so one may hope the 12-week process won’t influence the expected timeline of the project. If everything goes along plan, planning application should be filed before the end of 2012 with construction starting in Sept-Oct 2013.
Of the 29 million, only some 4 million is to be paid by Irish FA with Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure providing over 25 million.