Designers have put flesh on the bones of an exciting proposal to develop cricket, football (all codes) and tennis facilities on the old Clondermot High School site between Irish Street and Top of the Hill.
An early stage consultation with local residents and user groups did highlight some concerns regarding access and the potential for anti-social behaviour on what has been regarded as an interface area over the years but these concerns are now being addressed.
A design and access statement newly completed by the RPS consultancy shows the long disused brownfield site, will soon be transformed into a multi-purpose sports facilitty with a full-size grass pitch for soccer, rugby and gaelic games, a 3G synthetic soccer pitch, tennis courts and synthetic wickets with netting and flood lighting to enable outdoor cricket practice during the dark winter nights.
There will also be a central changing pavillion with office space and a multi-purpose room that can be booked for local clubs for the purposes of entertainment.
“The changing pavilion on the site incorporates six team changing rooms, separate accessible male and female changing rooms, a multi-purpose room to hold community events alongside ancillary staff and support facilities,” the authors of the report explain.
A consultation with residents of Irish Street, East Avenue, Knockwellan Park and Anderson Crescent conducted in March of this year flagged some concerns, however. Derry City and Strabane District Council says it is considering limiting pedestrian access from some of these streets due to the concerns raised by residents.
People living in East Avenue have been told that an access gate there will be for emergency vehicle exit and entrance only.
The Council has also advised City of Derry Tennis Club that the designers are going back to the drawing board regarding the tennis courts to ensure that they meet the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) minimum requirements.
RPS points out that the design tries to implement the local Council’s policy of improving sports provision in the Waterside.
“The project has evolved in response to Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Strategic Outdoor Playing Pitch Development Plan as prioritised by the Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership Board,” the design statement explains.
But the designers have been limited in terms of architectural expression by the strict needs of user groups.
“The nature of sports facilities limits the scope for innovative design input with the surface geometry and constituent materials generally being dictated by published standards and guidelines.”