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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Michael Kenwood

Loughside Recreation Centre in North Belfast to receive new 3G pitch

Loughside Recreation Centre in North Belfast is to receive a new 3G pitch.

Elected members at the Belfast City Council Planning Committee this week approved the replacement of the existing all weather playing pitch with a new 3G pitch, fencing, floodlights and dugouts.

The location is beside Loughside Recreation Centre, Shore Road, Belfast, BT15, at a site owned by Belfast City Council. The applicant is Tommy Whiteside, of Crusaders Sport and Social Development Trust, St Vincent Street, Belfast.

Read more: Loughside Centre graffiti prompts fear Council “running down the clock on its closure”

There were no objections from consultees or neighbours, both residential and commercial. Council officers recommended approval of the plan to elected representatives who unanimously gave the green light.

The council report states: “The principle of open space/recreational development has already been established and deemed acceptable at this location. It is considered that the character and appearance of the area would be preserved.

“The proposal is for an upgrade to the existing recreational facility only. Thus, there is no objection in principle to this proposal subject to the material considerations.”

It adds: “The proposal is to upgrade the existing pitch to a synthetic 3G pitch with floodlighting, fencing and dugouts. The visual changes are required to upgrade, secure, extend and improve the overall use of this facility.

“The changes are not significant and will not have an unacceptable detrimental visual impact on the surrounding area or on the visual amenity of surrounding commercial/residential properties, given that similar infrastructure already exists within the recreation centre lands.”

Loughside Recreation Centre has been closed since the pandemic, and the building has attracted controversy over its lack of use. In 2021 former Unite steward and Loughside worker Craig Frampton accused the council of failing to invest in the site for decades, in order to make it “unviable” and shut it down permanently.

The council said at the time: “The pitches at Loughside Recreation Centre are open and available for bookings but the building has not reopened due to the difficulties in implementing coronavirus safe operational protocols. Covid secure access to all or part of the building remains under review.

“Belfast City Council is currently delivering a 10-year £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme which will see seven new and upgraded leisure centres built.

"Work is also underway to develop future options for the other leisure facilities not included in the current transformation programme. Any decisions on their future will be taken as part of this review, following consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.”


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