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Crusaders and Newington plan major development

By Evan Short

A major development on the site of the Loughside Leisure Centre in conjunction with Newington Football Club and Crusaders could see an integrated college developed alongside a revamped 4000 all seater stadium.

Plans were unveiled on Thursday (February 20) for the major development that will dramatically change the area between the Shore Road and M2.

It would mean Crusaders leaving their Seaview stadium to become the anchor tenants in the new development.

The development would be based on a development already underway in Omagh that will see six existing schools move beside a huge sports facility.

Talks have already been held with the Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB), the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE).

The GAA and Irish Football Association have also been contacted.

An organisation called Seaview Enterprises is behind the plans and Mark Langhammer from the group said they would be meeting with the Department of Education in the coming weeks to showcase their proposals.

“This particular proposal is not dependent on whether there’s a stadium there or not, it focuses on education.

“The stadium isn’t a must do in the middle of this, it’s a ‘might happen’.

“Of the dozen schools that are in the immediate locality, all of them have very significant facilities’ deficits as measured by the schools’ handbook.

“What we’re not proposing is that schools co-locate here, we’re proposing that they share classrooms and fields to do particular education programmes.”

Both Crusaders and Newington tried to progress a similar plan in 2008 but that didn’t get past the planning stage.

Any development would need the input of Belfast City Council, which owns the land at Loughside.

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