Gavin Robinson calls for urgency in stadium funding roll out

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson says delays to the roll out of the Sub Regional Stadia Fund “continue to hamper progression of local football”.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 6:03 am

In response to an update to the Assembly committee from the Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey, yesterday, Mr Robinson called for a timeframe for the roll out of the new stadium fund.

In a statement released on his Facebook page the DUP MP called on the Minister to engage with Glentoran, who applied to the fund to aid the redevelopment of The Oval, to understand “the urgency to get this scheme to get up and running”.

In his statement Mr Robinson said: “This morning the Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey brought an update to the Assembly committee regarding the Sub Regional Stadia Fund.

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The Oval

“Agreed by the Executive, the fund earmarked £36 million for football stadia and specifically, strand one of the scheme was £10 million for the much needed redevelopment of the Oval.

“As my colleague Robin Newton MBE MLA rightly pointed out, the consultation started in 2015, closed in 2016 and we are now in 2021.

“The Minister indicates that she has been updating the evidence base the programme was based and reflecting the current and future needs of football.

“We know the need remains and if anything, the passage of time and the lack of progress should lead to an significant increase of the fund available for Glentoran and the other eligible clubs.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has called for a timeframe for the stadium fund

“Club such as Glentoran need to see a substantive action plan but ultimately a timeframe for the roll out of the new stadium fund. Further delays continue to hamper the progression of local football that provides so much for our community.

“I renew my request to meet with the Minister and would urge her to engage with Glentoran to understand the urgency to get this scheme to get up and running.

“She has to honour the Executive decision and the commitments made.”

In 2015, the Northern Ireland Executive allocated £36m for a sub-regional stadia funding programme for local football.

Following the return of power-sharing at Stormont in January this year, the Executive stated its intention to complete the programme, which includes plans to upgrade Irish League venues as well as GAA stadium Casement Park in Belfast.

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