Connacht have moved to expand their Sportsground Stadium home by submitting a planning application to Galway City Council.
Support has been growing for the expansion of the 5,500-capacity stadium following their PRO14 triumph in 2016. Indeed, Connacht have announced they will erect temporary seating ahead of their Christmas clashes against Munster and Ulster to meet demand for tickets.
New plans drawn up are set to rely on public funding to go ahead and would see the stadium’s attendance shoot to a capacity of 12,000, as well as the construction of a high-performance training facility.
The PRO14 club have estimated the project will cost around €30m (£27m) and are seeking funding from the government-launched Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund.
Connacht chief executive Willie Ruane outlined why the development was needed to make the Sportsground an ‘ideal’ location in the community and how the club had conducted extensive research in gauging the public’s feedback.
Ruane said: “Following the design phase and extensive engagement and consultation with the public we have now formally submitted our planning application to Galway City Council for the redevelopment of the Sportsground.
“Since the public announcement of the project in early October we have received widespread support from the public and elected representatives for the development of the stadium and delivery of a high performance training centre.
“Our public consultation has also allowed us to really engage with local residents and address issues or observations that they raised.”
“We welcome the launch of the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund, which the Government announced over the past few weeks.
“We have already presented an outline of the project to members of the Oireachtas including the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who has been supportive of the development and of its strategic benefits to the entire region.
“The scheme outline sets out the need for regional distribution of the fund along with the need to develop multi use facilities, making the Sportsground an ideal location for development.”
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