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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2005, 22:42 GMT
Rivals to Maze stadium dismissed
Plan includes a new 55m multi-sports stadium
Plan includes a new 55m multi-sports stadium
Two new alternatives to the proposed national stadium at the former Maze Prison site have been dismissed by Sports Minister David Hanson.

In March, the government said the Maze site near Lisburn was the only viable location for the new stadium.

Supporters of rival plans for Maysfield and Ormeau Park in Belfast said the Maze site would lack facilities.

However, Mr Hanson said he had not been sent details of the new plans and work on the Maze was at an advanced stage.

"The Maze site is not that far from Belfast and I believe that potentially there are a lot of other uses for the site that can maximise the impact for Northern Ireland," he said.

How the Maze site could look under the new proposals
How the Maze site could look under the new proposals
"We are well down the line - I think people need to regard today as an aberration rather than a new start."

The DUP's Edwin Poots, who sat on the consultation panel on the future of the Maze, said it was the best option.

"At the Maze there is a proposal for a leisure village that will include cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels," he said.

"We would be hoping to create in the Maze jobs for about 5,000 people - so that there will be a regular activity at that site.

The government are arguing against themselves - it is part of a statutory document that is the Laganside masterplan to have a stadium on the site
Paul Durnien
Stadium bidder

"There will probably be a village of between 1,000 to 1,500 homes - this is not a stadium in isolation to everything else."

However, two Belfast-based groups outlined their alternative plans to site the stadium in the city on Wednesday.

Belfast Chamber of Trade said the stadium should be at the former Maysfield leisure centre.

Dave Pennick from the Chamber of Trade said people were "so short of information" about the Maze plans.

"We are still working on the principle of 30,000 seats (for Maysfield)," he told BBC News on Wednesday.

"In terms of infrastructure, Belfast has it. We have roads, we have rail, we have boat, we have air.

"We have been side-lined in Belfast for some fairly grand plan."

'Working with financiers'

Paul Durnien, who has a quantity surveying company, has put together a team focused on the Ormeau park.

"The site has had a long association with recreation and sport," he said.

"The government are arguing against themselves. It is part of a statutory document that is the Laganside masterplan to have a stadium on the site."

Part of their proposal would be to build two pedestrian bridges linking the Gasworks site and the Lower Ormeau area to the proposed stadium.

"We have been working with financiers both in America and across the UK," he said.

Maze site 'approved' for stadium
30 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland
Stadium proposal for former jail
25 Feb 05 |  Northern Ireland
Maze could become leisure mecca
23 Feb 05 |  Northern Ireland
Three contenders for NI stadium
20 Jan 05 |  Northern Ireland
NI stadium 'needs support'
24 May 04 |  Northern Ireland

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