‘Milestone’ reached for Dungiven sports project

Seamus Harkin, Colm McGuigan and James McMacken at the recent  meeting held in Dungiven. INLV2515-021KDR

Seamus Harkin, Colm McGuigan and James McMacken at the recent meeting held in Dungiven. INLV2515-021KDR

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The development of sport and leisure facilities have taken a further step with submission of a planning application for the multi-million pound project.

In the pipeline for the last four years, the project began with the former Limavady Borough Council with an initial estimated cost in the region of £7 million, including securing £2.5 million funding from DCAL.

However, the project has been scaled back under the new Causeway Coast and Glens (CCG) Borough Council, with plans to locate facilities on a ‘single-site’ at Curragh Road, with provision including a main hall, smaller halls, gym plus 3G facility, costing in excess of £2.5 million.

CCG Council’s Head of Service for Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Wendy McCullough said the project’s “latest milestone” was submission of a planning application on 26th July.

None of the funding will come from the Council, but is instead dependent on DCAL. Council officials met with the DCAL minister last week.

In a statement, the department said it “remains committed to seeking to secure £2.5 million funding for the development of the facility in Dungiven, as part of the legacy of the City of Culture to the North West”, but warned it is “subject to budget availability and the approval of a business case which will include confirmation of any necessary partnership funding for the project”.

Sinn Fein Colr. Dermot Nicholl, who attended the DCAL meeting, said current sports facilities in Dungiven are “not fit-for-purpose” and the new facilities “can be built upon and lead to bigger things”, adding: “This has been a long time coming and, all being well, there will be a letter of offer for funding from the minister in September.”

Speaking at a meeting in Dungiven on June 8th, SDLP Colr. Orla Beattie said with the single-site not all clubs will be catered for, “but hopefully, in the future, we will try and get facilities for them.”

Representatives from St. Patrick’s Camogie Club and from St. Canice’s Ladies GFC told the ‘Journal’ at that meeting they currently have nowhere permanent to train, which they said was “discouraging” for players and felt “like we’re always on the beg”.

James McMacken of St. Canice’s GAC said with so many clubs in the town, and so many young people playing sport, new facilities are “badly needed”. Seamus Harkin of Dungiven Celtic Football Club said: “After four years of fighting for what we want we have to take what we can get.”

Some residents at the 8th June meeting expressed concerns about noise pollution, traffic, the impact of floodlights, and opening hours of the single-site facility. One resident expressed concern about fencing at the facility, its height and proximity to her home.