LONDON GAA have been forced to delay the start date for the redevelopment of the Irish TV Grounds in Ruislip until May 2016, a spokesman has confirmed.
The £4.17m project was due to be completed in time for the 2016 Connacht Senior Championship game between London and Mayo on May 29 next year.
Construction was initially due to begin in June of this year, but concerns were raised amid no sign of progress by August, and London GAA Secretary Mark Gottsche has now confirmed the local GAA community’s worst fears.
“There was a statement read to our delegates at our committee meeting on Monday – we have delayed construction until May 2016,” he said.
“The tender contractual process took longer than expected and we ended up having too tight a window to get everything completed (by May 2016) because we didn’t get everything signed off.
“To ensure that everything is set up right – in terms of contracts and everything, so that when we do start, we can go fully through with it – we decided that the best option was to wait until May 2016.”
The plans promise a new 2,330 seater stand, four new dressing rooms, a referee’s room, gym, treatment room and a redeveloped pitch.
Indeed, the pitch – which is to be fitted with underground attenuation tanks for the purposes of rainwater harvesting – has proved to be key to the decision to delay the plans.
“The pitch is a critical part of the development,” added Mr Gottsche. “If we got that wrong by starting [development] too late, that would have messed up everything for next year.
“In order to get everything right, and the pitch ready, the best option was to delay it. So construction will now start after next year’s Connacht Championship.”
Asked if GAA fans can be guaranteed the new facilities will be ready in time for the 2017 Connacht Senior Football Championship, Mr Gottsche insisted there will be no more delays.
He added: “We’ve now given ourselves 10 months to get everything in place before construction will begin, so the contracts and finalisation of the plans will all be in place – we’ll definitely be ready to go by May.”