PLANS to enlarge, and add two spectator stands to, Ballyhornan’s 3G pitch are set to be approved. In June, Ballyhornan and District Community Association submitted the application for the Rourkes Link facility – to help it comply with Irish Football Association (IFA) regulations – to council planners, who have now recommended it be given the go-ahead. A drawing attached to the proposal shows that the pitch would be extended on the side opposite Ballyhornan Family Centre and the changing rooms, bringing it ‘up to standard for compliance with IFA intermediate grade pitches’. All existing floodlights, dugouts and storage recesses – as well as the new post and wire fence – would be ‘moved accordingly with pitch widening’. One of the small sheltered tiered seating stands would be located by the centre building and the other would be beside the changing rooms.
The planners’ report states that ‘the works will read with the existing development of the football pitch in place’, and that ‘there are limited direct views into the site, given the location of the existing pitch’. ‘Given the scale and nature of the works and separation distance from any protected sites, it is not considered there will be any detrimental impacts to features of importance or nature conservation,’ it continues. ‘The proposal will see the loss of a small element of agricultural land that will be utilised to extend the pitch; the remainder of the land will remain uninterrupted. ‘The extension into the agricultural lands includes a depth of approximately 3.5m and is approximately 100m in length. ‘This proposal will see a small loss of agricultural land, but it is not a substantial amount of land being lost, and it will not have any detrimental impacts on the viability of the remainder of the agricultural land.’ The document also states that the two stands are ‘what are typically found adjacent to such a spectator sport, and will not detract from the character or appearance of the area’. It is highlighted that ‘they are of a scale that is consistent with the scale of works already in place, and, given they are located at the pitch side and adjacent to a large community hall, they will not have any detrimental impacts’.
The village pitch – with associated changing facilities, floodlighting, fencing and car park – was officially launched in November 2021. A council statement, at that point, highlighted that it had provided £125,000 in funding to go with the £1.1m investment made by the Executive Office’s Social Investment Fund.