Members of the public are being invited to have their say on plans for a major new community sports facility development near Monkstown.
The proposed £2.2million project - a joint venture between Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Crusaders Football Club - could see the redevelopment of a large area of the council-owned Threemilewater Playing Fields.
The north Belfast club is hoping to secure funding to create what it describes as a “Grassroots and Women’s Sports Complex” on the disused shale pitches at Bridge Road.
Proposals for the seven-acre site include the construction of a main floodlit 3G pitch to accommodate women’s, intermediate and junior football, as well as the provision of new changing/medical facilities, multi-use games areas and a sprint track.
The site would also host what the club describes as a “Grassroots Women’s Football Centre of Excellence” and NI Women’s Premier League games featuring clubs such as Crusaders Newtownabbey Strikers.
The proposed works also include an upgrade of the existing basketball and tennis facilities at the Doagh Road playing fields, while the existing grass pitches would be retained.
Planning permission for the ambitious project was granted in August this year, and Crusaders FC is now consulting with interested parties - youth groups, sports clubs, schools, community groups and local residents - about the plans.
A public meeting to discuss the proposals will take place in the Yarn Suite, Mossley Mill on Wednesday, December 9 at 6pm.
The meeting, which will be attended representatives of Antrim and Newtownabbey Council and Crusaders FC, will also hear from former Northern Ireland international Jim Magilton, who is currently IFA Manager for Elite Player Development.
Urging people to get involved in the consultation process, Mark Langhammer, company director at Crusaders FC, said: “The scheme proposed at Threemilewater has received full planning permission and, if realised, will represent a significant boost to the local area and to sports clubs particularly. We are conducting a widespread consultation and would invite interested parties to attend the meeting on December 9 at Mossley Mill.”
The former Newtownabbey councillor added: “The proposals are funding dependent, but we are confident that the scale and ambition of the scheme will be attractive.
“Whilst Crusaders FC are the project proposers, we would stress that Crusaders’ usage will be limited and that the bulk of usage will be from local school, community and sports interests. The aim is to develop a partnership of committed users who will make Threemilewater their home and will enhance a currently neglected public space.”
Plans for the proposed Threemilewater development are now on public display in the reception area at the council’s Mossley Mill headquarters.