Big plans for Gle­nealy GAA

De­vel­op­ment gets go-ahead

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - BRENDAN LAWRENCE Sports Edi­tor

THERE was a huge sense of cel­e­bra­tion and re­lief in Gle­nealy last week when news broke that their plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for a su­perb new GAA fa­cil­ity in the heart of the vil­lage had been granted by An Bord Pleanála after a six-year voy­age.

The new com­plex will be built on land op­po­site the lo­cal na­tional school and will in­clude two full-size GAA pitches, a ju­ve­nile pitch to the front, park­ing for the school to help ease traf­fic dif­fi­cul­ties at school times, a run­ning track, a hurl­ing wall and a fully func­tion­ing club house on a cen­trally lo­cated and stun­ning 21-acre site.

Huge ef­fort and work have gone into this pro­ject from the tightknit com­mu­nity of Gle­nealy and the orig­i­nal com­mit­tee in charge (Pat Staunton, Joe Lin­nane, Nigel Man­ley and Noel Ger­aghty) have asked that Wick­low County Coun­cil and ar­chi­tect PJ Sut­ton be thanked for their as­sis­tance and help at ev­ery turn on the long and ar­du­ous road to plan­ning ap­proval. The com­mit­tee, led by chair­man Pat Staunton, also wish to ex­press their eter­nal grat­i­tude to the com­mu­nity of Gle­nealy and to all who helped in any way in get­ting the pro­ject over the line at the se­cond time of ask­ing.

Ini­tially, plan­ning per­mis­sion was sought for half the pro­ject, and was granted by Wick­low County Coun­cil. A grant was ap­plied for and was suc­cess­ful with €210,000 be­ing se­cured.

How­ever, one ob­jec­tion to the pro­ject meant that the time limit on the grant ran out and that fi­nan­cial boost was lost.

An Bord Pleanála de­clined the orig­i­nal plan­ning per­mis­sion re­quest for two en­tirely dif­fer­ent rea­sons than the ob­jec­tion, so the com­mit­tee re­con­fig­ured the pro­ject to meet all re­quire­ments of An Bord Pleanála and re­sub­mit­ted the ap­pli­ca­tion which was granted by Wick­low County Coun­cil and last week by An Bord Pleanála bring­ing to an end six years of hard work and, at times, frus­tra­tion.

‘We’re ab­so­lutely de­lighted with the news,’ said com­mit­tee chair­man Pat Staunton. ‘We’ve got the plan­ning. We’re al­most six years on this road. We’re lucky that we are a tight-knit com­mit­tee.

‘Wick­low County Coun­cil have been very good to us at ev­ery turn, they have re­ally helped us so much,’ said Pat. ‘The Wick­low County Board as well, they were very help­ful, and Le­in­ster Coun­cil gave us a quar­ter of the price of the land and plenty of ad­vice. Croke Park helped out as well, they gave us the bal­ance of the price of the land at an ac­cept­able.

‘And I have to ap­plaud the sup­port of the pa­trons of the club and many other peo­ple be­sides. We set up a plaque ini­tia­tive here where you give €50 a month for a year which works out a €600. We had a tar­get of 34 peo­ple to pay our mort­gage and we’re well above that now and some of the peo­ple just came up and gave us the €600 straight up, and one man just handed in a cheque of €1,000. The feed­back for them is that there will be a plaque put up on the wall in the club with their names on it for­ever,’ he added.

The pro­ject will be com­pleted in a phased man­ner with the ju­ve­nile pitch and park­ing be­ing the first stage.

Pat Staunton says that the help of ar­chi­tect PJ Sut­ton of Sut­ton De­sign was im­mensely im­por­tant to the pro­ject.

‘PJ is a lo­cal man here and he has driven this pro­ject. He works as Sut­ton De­sign Stu­dio and he has gone over and be­yond what would be ex­pected of any ar­chi­tect. He’s been bril­liant to us, he’s been a rev­e­la­tion to us. Every­body has great time for him. He re­ally has put his heart and soul into this pro­ject. He had an em­pa­thy with the club and with the pro­ject but apart from that he is very good at what he does,’ said Pat, who also ac­knowl­edged the ef­forts of Dean Turner (con­sult­ing en­gi­neer) through­out the process.

For a brief pe­riod, the com­mit­tee that have toiled so hard to get this plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion over the line can take a break and catch their breaths. How­ever, their rest will be a short one, as the hard graft be­gins now.

‘So now we have to sit down and catch our breaths,’ said Pat, ‘We’ll prob­a­bly have to form a new com­mit­tee, put a pro­ject man­ager in place, it’s ter­ri­bly im­por­tant that we get some­one to drive this for­ward in the right way. We’ve a 10-year limit on the plan­ning per­mis­sion so it will be done in stages,’ added Pat.

Plans for the new Gle­nealy GAA com­plex.

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