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Mayor turns the sod on Top of the Hill sports pitches development

01 May 2018

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, has performed the official sod turning ceremony to mark the start of works on the eagerly anticipated redeveloped sports pitches and facilities in the Top of the Hill area of the city.

The pitches will be built on the site of the former Immaculate Conception College on Trench Road and will include a new grass floodlit GAA football pitch.

This substantial capital development project is part of the Top of the Hill regeneration masterplan and is funded by Council and the Social Investment Fund (SIF) under the NI Executive’s Delivering Social Change framework.

The facilities will provide a permanent home for the Waterside’s only GAA club Na Piarsaigh Doire Trasna.

Mayor McHugh was joined by local Social Investment Fund officials, elected representatives, stakeholders and council officers for the ceremony this week where he welcomed the latest development in Council’s sports pitch development programme.

“The beginning of work on the Corrody Road site continues Council’s commitment in the Strategic Growth Plan to deliver an extensive programme of capital and playing pitch development,” he said. “The ambitious programme has already included the recently completed Brandywell Redevelopment project and the soon to be opened combined GAA, rugby and soccer 3G synthetic pitch at the Melvin Sports Complex in Strabane.

“The project will bring state of the art pitched and supporting infrastructure to the Top of the Hill and wider area which will provide a home for local sports clubs, including the Na Piarsaigh Doire Trasna GAA Club.

“In offering enhanced sports facilities we are building the capacity of our local sporting and recreational clubs to become more sustainable and encourage higher levels of participation and proficiency in sport and recreational activities.”

Noel McCartney, Chair of the local SIF Steering Group, added his congratulations to everyone who helped bring the project to this key stage.

“I would like to congratulate the community and statutory partners for all their dedicated work in bringing this project to the point where work can now begin on the playing pitches at Corrody Road,” he said.

“It is a significant development and will be a welcome addition to the existing playing pitch provision in the city.  

“Improved leisure facilities can play a key role in encouraging more of our citizens to be active and help them reap the many health benefits that exercise brings.

“I would like to thank the late Martin Mc Guinness as well as Peter Robinson who set up the Social Investment Fund and allocated £9.5 million to Derry."

CLG Na Piarsaigh Doire Trasna Club Chairman Thomas McNaught expressed his delight that their long search for a permanent home was finally coming to an end.

“This is a momentous day for everyone involved in GAA in the Waterside,” he said. “We are delighted that we will finally have a permanent base to call our own for the first time since our inception in 2001 which can help our club go from strength to strength in the years ahead.

“Crucially it will provide a focal point for the hundreds of underage players who train and play games with the club each week and allow us to enhance our work with the local primary and secondary schools in the Waterside area.

“We have been working closely with Derry City and Strabane District Council so that the pitch redevelopment can be tailored to our needs and I would like to thank them and all the other community and statutory partners who have worked together to bring the project to this point.”

The site of the playing pitch development will measure 3.4 hectares and a new access will be developed to it via Corrody Road.

The site is bounded by Corrody Road and Top of the Hill Park to the west, Hollymount Park housing estate to the south, existing playing fields to the east, and a new social housing development currently under construction to the north.

Full booking details for Derry City and Strabane District Council’s sports facilities are available at www.derrystrabane.com/leisure.