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Bannsiders’ Bid

COLERAINE Showgrounds to benefit from £16 million development if UK Government Levelling Up Fund bid gets green light…

The Showgrounds stadium could finally see two new modern stands and associated redevelopment if a UK Government Levelling Up Fund bid gets accepted.

Coleraine Football Club’s Board submitted an application to the UK Government’s “Levelling Up Fund“ in August 2022. The proposal is based around developing the Ballycastle Road as the Northwest Regional Stadium at The Showgrounds which would make it a model of best practice for stadium design on the island of Ireland.

In March 2021, the then Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £4.8b capital scheme for ‘high value local infrastructure investment’. He explained the purpose of the fund saying, “It is also designed to help local areas select genuine local priorities for investment by putting local stakeholder support, including the local MP where they want to be involved, at the heart of its mission.”

The Government fund allows for applications of up to £20m for wellbeing, regeneration or culture and £50 m transport projects. In total just over £150 million is set aside for Northern Ireland of which £50 million was committed in the first round and £100 million is available in this call.

The development would include new stands at the south side next the railway track and the replacement of the Jack Doherty stand increasing the capacity to 8,000, incorporating provisions for player development, hospitality, media as well as safe modern spectator amenities. Facilities would also include a community pitch to meet the growing demand from the local groups.

The Chair of Coleraine Football Club, Colin McKendry stated that “The club have consulted widely and gained support from across the political spectrum in its preparation to become spade ready for the Levelling Up Fund and to meet the growing demand from local footballing community”.

He added: “The investment would enable the IFA to bring high profile football matches out of Belfast and spread the interest across the province”.

Causeway Coast and Glens Council have partnered with Coleraine FC as part of the application process which is being heavily backed by the local MP Gregory Campbell and by Lord Rogan at Westminster.

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