Glenealy GAA club have been granted planning permission for the development of new playing and training facilities, a project which is expected to commence in 2019.
The new project — which will include four new pitches (two adult, two juvenile), a running track, and an all-weather training pitch among many other facilities — will start next summer, and is expected to take up to 10 years to complete.
The club purchased a 21-acre plot of land in Ballyfree from Kerry Foods back in 2014, and has since been fighting for planning permission to develop the new site.
Speaking to WicklowNews, club chairman Seamus O’Neill explained the difficulties in ascertaining approval for the project, saying: “We’ve been waiting on planning permission for almost five years, but we had an objector. It ended up with An Bórd Pleanála and we got our planning permission yesterday.
“We had planning from Wicklow County Council when we initally applied but we had an objector. We had to go back to apply for planning again.”
Despite the initial objections, the club was finally granted development approval on Wednesday, much to the delight of O’Neill.
“It is great. It is right in the middle of the village and across the road from the school. It is easy for schools to just walk across the road onto pitches so it is a great benefit for the school as well. The school is where all the hurling comes from,” he told WicklowNews.
Upon completion, the new Glenealy GAA ground will have extensive facilities, including:
- Four new pitches (two adult, two juvenile),
- Gaelic handball alley,
- 300-metre running track,
- Adult outdoor gym,
- All-weather training pitch,
- Reinforced concrete hurling wall,
- Clubhouse with dressing rooms,
- Car parking facilities, and
- Pitch lighting.
“At the moment, we only have the community pitch. That pitch is belonging to the hall, it is not a GAA pitch. It is a community ground,” O’Neill said.
“It gives us space and it is all about space really. At the moment, there are almost 15 teams in Glenealy, all on one pitch. It should bring the club more up to date. It is all about facilities.”
The club have applied for grants for the purpose of financing the new development which, if all goes well, will begin construction in the middle of next summer.