How the National Stadium at the Maze could
by JULIE-ANN SPENCE
ON Tuesday evening (April 8) Lisburn City
Council will welcome the architects behind the National Stadium
at the Maze.
HOK Architects will attend a special meeting of
the Council's Planning Committee and it expected all councillors
will voice their strong support for the development. Chairman of
the Council's Planning Committee, Councillor William Leathern
said the councillors were looking forward to meeting the
architects. "Lisburn City Council is unanimous in its support
for the Maze development and for Sports Minister Edwin Poots.
"We welcome the opportunity to meet with HOK
architects and thank them for coming from London and giving us
the opportunity to hear the plans in detail."
Vice Chairman of the Council's Leisure
Services Committee, Councillor David Archer, also welcomed the
news that the Maze Architects would be visiting Lisburn City
Council. "Next Monday's visit by HOE Sport Architecture comes at
a timely point it the debate and will give us a greater insight
into the design of the Maze Stadium."
The meeting with Lisburn City Council comes a
week after the bosses of the three sports which would use the
proposed new stadium at the Maze decided not to attend t:
meeting with an assembly committee.
The Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee had
asked to meet with Howard Wells of IFA, the GAA's Danny Murphy
and Mike Reid of Ulster Rugby.
But the three, who all support the Maze
project, have met the committee before and declined the
"What we don't want is continuing maybes
because that doesn't help any of us," said Howard Wells.
"I think what we need is a situation where we
actually know what is going to happen and what sort of time
frame we're talking about, but we've been saying that repeatedly
The Gaelic Athletic Association, Irish
Football Association and Ulster Rugby have all confirmed they
would play games at the venue but a political row is threatening
the scheme because a proposed conflict
resolution centre would also be built at the
Some unionists have claimed it would be 'a
shrine to terrorism', but Lisburn Council has unanimously backed
the redevelopment at the Maze.
So far, in spite of claims there could be an
alternative site for a multi-sports stadium, no firm proposal
has been forthcoming.
Donaldson calls for Council
unity on Maze
LAGAN Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson has
labelled recent divisions between Lisburn councillors over the
Maze Stadium as "silly nonsense".
Speaking at Monday's full council. meeting,
Mr Donaldson made reference to a heated exchange on a radio show
between himself and fellow MLA Basil McCrea after claims the DUP
have ditched the Maze Stadium.
Mr Donaldson said: "Belfast is laughing.
Whatever our differences it is silly to play these games.
"Why not lift the phone up to speak to
colleagues instead of going to the media? Damage was done to the
"I hope there will be a resolution in this
council to stick together. The issue is not helped when we are
divided in this chamber."
Norman Davidson, Chief Executive of the
Council, agreed saying: "There is no time for divisions.
"The people who will benefit will be those
who want the project to go to Belfast. We should make our voices
heard. Don't plan for defeat or plan B."
Sinn Féin MLA Paul Butler welcomed Mr
Donaldson's comments. "I also welcome the decision by Lisburn
council to be more proactive in promoting the site as the only
credible location for the stadium" he said.
"Mr. Donaldson's remarks and the council's
decision are particularly important against the background of a
delay by Minister Edwin Poots and Minister Peter Robinson in
responding to the business plan for the location of the stadium.
"I am calling on both ministers to end the
uncertainty by supporting their colleagues and indeed Lisburn
council by endorsing the business plan and giving the green
light to the building of the new stadium."