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Residents fear Loughgall FC expansion plans will worsen traffic problems

'Parking capacity is already an ongoing issue'

A Loughgall resident has raised concerns about traffic congestion outside the village football grounds, amid fears it is set to worsen.

The woman, who prefers not to be named, said parking is already an issue but that a planning application put forward by Loughgall FC to redevelop the grounds does not mention increasing parking facilities.

The application, which was lodged in April and is currently with ABC Council, proposes alterations to the stadium to provide a new 300-seater home stand, 200-seater away stand, new  turnstiles, toilets and a 3G pitch.

She said she and other residents of Loughgall Mews had each signed a letter of objection.

“Parking capacity is already an ongoing issue,” she said. “That has been reported to PSNI on numerous occasions, which in some instances has resulted in police¬† attending the area to issue parking tickets.

“Residents living directly across from the club have had to deal with visitors to the club parking in our spaces outside our front doors. This is a small housing development with only a finite amount of spaces for residents and guests.

“More importantly than that, club goers park along both sides of the Ballygasey Road, forcing it into a one-way system. They have also been parking along both sides of the entrance to our estate, making it difficult to exit and enter, as well as parking right up next to the junction, obstructing residents’ view of oncoming traffic.”

Loughgall FC stadium plans

An artist’s impression of the redeveloped club facilities at Lakeview Park

She added: “This is a busy road regularly used by lorries and tractors as well, so you can imagine the difficulty when it’s turned into a one-way system.

“We have residents in this estate who often require assistance from emergency services, which, if they happen to need to attend when there’s a football match on, will find it difficult to access residents’ homes.”

A video taken on September 24 shows a back-up of traffic and the resident said she had a 15-minute wait to get home, with cars reversing up the wrong side of the road to get out of the traffic jam.

A spokesperson for Loughgall FC said: “Loughgall Football Club Committee have recently been made aware of the on street car parking issues within Loughgall village and we are currently considering options to try to mitigate them.

“Loughgall Football Club have recently constructed a new car park which provides over 60 car parking spaces within Lakeview.

“We have been long established at Lakeview Park within Loughgall and as a village club we have a very strong relationship with the residents of Loughgall. We very much see our club as a community hub for the village and the surrounding rural hinterland. So any issues which are brought to our attention are taken very seriously indeed.

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