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Harps’ new Abbey Park clubhouse development will be approved this week

Armagh Harps may have lost out to Crossmaglen this afternoon in their senior county championship bid.

But they will be winners mid-week, as Armagh I can reveal their ambitious new clubhouse development at Abbey Park is about to be given the go-ahead.

The development – costing in excess of £1.1 million – will be given official planning approval at a meeting of the planning and regulatory services committee of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council when it meets in Banbridge this Wednesday evening.Armagh-Harps-1024x553

Armagh I exclusively revealed Armagh Harps’ plans in January.

The development would see the demolition of the existing clubhouse at Abbey Park and a new two-storey facility, complete with changing facilities, gymnasium and facilities for disabled users.

The plans include a corporate shop too, with a sports hall and viewing areas at first floor level.

An Armagh Harps spokesman, speaking at the time, had told Armagh I: “Armagh Harps have plans to build an indoor sports hall/community hall, children/female friendly changing facilities and a gymnasium/weights room. The indoor sports hall would be 20m x 20m and used for sporting and community-based recreational activities.

“The facility would also include four female/child friendly changing rooms and a gymnasium which will be 10m x 20m. The project will include also resurfacing the current training pitch with a synthetic carpet.”

The new clubhouse is part of a rolling programme of development for the Harps, an Armagh club with a long and proud history dating back to 1888.

Armagh Harps’ GFC was awarded £1.1 million in funding under the Social Investment Fund.

The Abbey Park scheme was one of nine across the Province to be awarded grants in the January tranche of allocations from the SIF.

The nine projects were identified as priorities by steering groups in each ‘zone’ across the Province.

The delivery of planning approval is the latest step towards delivering on the scheme.

Funding issues are being addressed.

Just this week Armagh I reported that moves were being made to progress a number of schemes in the area.

Acting First Minister Arlene Foster told the Assembly three projects in the southern zone had been prioritised by the steering group.

One of these was the capital build project for a community hall and sports complex for Armagh Harps GFC.

Mrs Foster said “costs have risen significantly” but “work is now ongoing to minimise the increase and impact on affordability”.

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