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Residents in for trying time during Ravenhill revamp

By Paul Ainsworth

RESIDENTS in homes surrounding the Ravenhill Rugby stadium say they are preparing for “months of chaos” after a revamp of the ground was given the green light.

Rugby fans rejoiced in last week’s news that the home of the Ulster rugby squad was to be upgraded as part of a multi-million pound Assembly package for sports in the North. It is estimated the building of new stands at the ground will raise the spectator capacity to 18,000.

However, a Ravenhill Park resident, who has previously called for a residents only parking scheme on match days, told the South Belfast News that he predicted worsening traffic conditions in the area.

Nelson Millar, whose reservations about the project are contrasted by the fact he is a rugby fan himself, said: “The fact of the matter is this is going to cause major traffic issues, not to mention months of chaos as the new stadium is built.

“During the consultation process, some of our concerns were taken on board, such as the location of an electronic scoreboard, which we felt was too close to houses, but for the most part we feel like we haven’t really been listened too, particularly in terms of traffic and we are the ones who live here full time.”

However, a Department of the Environment spokesman said that Minister Alex Attwood had taken a “thorough examination” of the planning issues before making his decision about the upgrade. “Minister Attwood was aware of the objections, interrogated the issues and personally visited the site before making his decision,” he said.

“He is satisfied that the new Ravenhill can be achieved without causing undue harm to the surrounding area or its citizens. The minister acknowledges that there will be impact on some residents. He knows this and saw it when he sat in the residents’ kitchens.”

The spokesman added that Mr Attwood has called for Ulster Rugby to continue to work closely alongside residents in the coming period, and has requested they issue a report every few months on progress.


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