Friday, May 24, 2024

Basketball Ireland asked to readvertise plans for €35m redevelopment of National Basketball Arena

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Seán McCárthaigh

Basketball Ireland has been asked to provide further information about its plans for a €35m redevelopment of the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght amid a number of concerns by South Dublin County Council including that the public were not adequately informed about the project.

The local authority has asked the governing body of basketball in Ireland to re-advertise its proposal as well as to erect several more planning notices for the new stadium in the area around Tymon Park.

“There is a likelihood that properties that would potentially be impacted by the development have not been made appropriately aware of the development,” it stated.

The project for which planning permission is sought envisages the demolition of the existing arena and the construction of a new multi-sports facility which would double its capacity to almost 3,300.

Almost 8,000m² of floor space in the three-storey structure will provide space for four basketball courts as well as a gym, café, shops and roof terrace together with corporate facilities and office space for Basketball Ireland staff plus 260 car parking spaces.

No submissions or objections were made to the council about plans for the new arena from either members of the public or public representatives.

However, South Dublin County Council claimed notices alerting the public to the proposed development should have been placed at additional locations in the area.

It ruled that Basketball Ireland has not complied with the requirements of planning regulations on the erection of site notices.

The council has asked the sports body to re-advertise the development together with ensuring site notices are put up at several locations, including the main entrance to Tymon Park and at both ends of a pedestrian bridge over the M50.

South Dublin County Council also stated a significant increase in the number of bicycle parking spaces was required over the figure proposed by Basketball Ireland.

Council planners claim the minimum number of spaces for bicycles should be 327 compared to the 168 spaces suggested by Basketball Ireland.

In addition, the local authority maintains that the maximum number of car parking spaces should be 218 together with seven spaces for coaches.

The sports body has provided for 260 spaces for cars with four spaces for coaches.

However, the council said its maximum and minimum parking standards for cars and bicycles respectively under the South Dublin County Development Plan are “non-negotiable.”

The National Transport Authority also claimed the number of car parking spaces should not exceed 250 spaces, while there is a minimum requirement for six coach parking spaces.

Similarly, the NTA claimed a total of 340 cycle parking spaces should be provided – more than double the figure proposed by Basketball Ireland.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland complained that the application was at variance with official policy on the control of developments which affect the national road network.

TII claimed Basketball Ireland had provided insufficient data to demonstrate its plans would not have a detrimental impact on the capacity and safety of the national road network in the area.

It also argued the proposed redevelopment of the arena would promote the unsustainable use of private cars.

Council planners raised a further concern about the proximity of the new arena to the Greenhills Esker as Basketball Ireland had chosen not to prepare a landscape plan in consultation with the council’s heritage officer as had been recommended at the pre-planning stage of the application.

While the council concluded that the proposed new basketball arena is acceptable in principle, it has sought additional information on a range of issues including more details on the design of the building and landscaping, parking provision and a traffic and transport assessment.

Other areas of concern remain additional uses of the facility, the management of water and construction waste, drainage, ecology and bat surveys and the use of green infrastructure.

Basketball Ireland claims the existing arena, which was completed in 1993, is operating at near capacity levels with no scope for future growth.

Without having any upgrades over the past 30 years, it observed that the facility is “nearing the end of its useful life.”

Basketball Ireland chief executive, John Feehan, said: “The new arena will be the home of Irish basketball and illustrates the passion and drive within the organisation to continue the growth of the game.”

The organisation has also received support from several other sports bodies including Badminton Ireland, Irish Squash and Volleyball Ireland who have expressed an interest in using the proposed new state-of-the-art facility.

Basketball Ireland had hoped construction on the new arena, which is expected to take 18 months to complete, could begin in the summer of 2025 with the facility operational in time for the start of the 2026/27 season.

It hopes to secure funding for the stadium from the Government through the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund as well as raising money via a naming rights partner for the new arena.

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