Highways England U-turn threatens home of Warwickshire GAA
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Highways England U-turn threatens home of Warwickshire GAA

A SECOND public consultation is now underway after Highways England dramatically withdrew their support for the relocation of Pairc na hÉireann.

The consultation, which closes on October 2, is open to all to voice their opinions on the proposed M42 relief road which is to be built through the middle of the site. The County Board is appealing to all involved in the GAA, both inside and outside of Warwickshire, to make their voices heard.

The U-turn from Highways England means that instead of supporting the full relocation of the home of Warwickshire and Provincial GAA - which would have included three pitches and a clubhouse - they are now only offering the bare minimum of adjacent land to the side of the current location of the main pitch and the clubhouse, much of which is contaminated land.

“Not only have they U-turned on their promise to relocate us, they are now taking more land from us” explained Warwickshire Chairman Mark McLoughlin.

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“At no point over the past 18 months have Highways England suggested any change of approach but this has completely neutralised our approach to the future of Pairc na hÉireann.

“We have sought legal advice, which has confirmed that we are in a good position to challenge this and that Highways England should have sought legal advice of their own before announcing this change of stance.”

GAA President John Horan is due to be at Pairc na hÉireann this Sunday for the county final, where a visualisation of the impact on the existing site will be demonstrated to everyone in attendance as part the day’s events. There are now serious questions about the viability of the future of the ground should it remain in the same location, with no guarantees on the number of available pitches or access to the site.

There are also questions over the health impact of playing games so close to a motorway relief road.

With the works due to start in 18 months, time is running out to ensure that Warwickshire is not left in a worse off situation. The County Board is calling out to the GAA community to voice its objections and back the original proposition of relocation to a new site away from the relief road.

To have your say on the consultation, you can either complete the online response form here: https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/m42-junction-6-improvement-additional-consultation/ or alternatively, write and post your response to: Jonathan Pizzey, M42 Junction 6 Improvement, Highways England, Floor 5, Two Colmore Square, Birmingham B4 6BN.

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