Ruislip redevelopment moves a step closer
The redevelopment of the Emerald Grounds, Ruislip, moved a step closer last week with the submission of plans for a new state of the art facility.
Croke Park are due to meet next month to discuss the proposal for a fully enclosed stadium, which will bring Ruislip in line with county grounds in Ireland.
The proposal includes a stand with a minimum of 2,000 seats, bringing the total capacity to around 4,000, with terracing planned for the other three sides of the ground. The stand will include media facilities and four new dressing rooms, which will be incorporated below pitch level. The current dressing rooms in the clubhouse will be redeveloped although for what purpose is still to be decided.
Entrance to the new look Ruislip will be by turnstile only with the pitch moved approximately 20 metres down away from the current clubhouse and to the left onto the existing access road, which currently leads to the overflow car parking at the bottom. This will provide more room for the stand on the current bank side plus allow for more car parking at the clubhouse end.
The bottom end of the ground will become a warm up/training area. As things stand, the dug outs will remain in their current positions.
The possibility of a new entrance/exit is also being explored, closer to the Polish War Memorial roundabout. A children’s play area is also planned to help attract more families.
If the proposal gets the green light from Croke Park, there are still hurdles to be jumped, particaul the local council, Hillingdon Borough, as well as funding and tendering issues, but if all goes to schedule work could commence at the end of the 2013 Championship season and will take approximately a year to complete.
Alternative grounds will therefore be needed to the championship games in 2014, including the county finals.
The proposal put forward by the Ruislip redevelopment committee, headed by Noel Dunning, got the backing of delegates at last week’s county board meeting. Croke Park will now review the plans and before reporting back to London.
“We were basically given a blank canvass because we don’t have a fit for purpose county ground at the moment, so we had to come up with a scheme that would give us just that, and we think we have,” said Dunning.
“If it’s done according to the plans that we’ve put forward then it will be an all-singing all-dancing county ground with a small floodlit training area. It will be on a par with any county ground at home albeit on a smaller scale.”
Separate to the redevelopment of the stadium is the relaying of the playing surface at Ruislip, which could require the pitch to be raised to facilitate a better level of drainage. The committee are currently waiting to hear the proposals of pitch designers. The work on the stadium and the pitch will be done in tandem.
Details surrounding the funding of the project are still to be decided, but it’s believed that London GAA will have to part-fund the project, with Croke Park expected to pick up the bulk of the tab. However, the exact amount that London will need to raise is still to be clarified.
London County Board Chairman Noel O’Sullivan added: “It is very important because it’s been too long that we’re expecting our fans to come out here supporting clubs in conditions that are not acceptable any more.
“Hopefully the new facilities, which will be completed in the next few years, will bring the crowds back to Ruislip again, so that people can come and watch the games in comfort and support the GAA.
“We travel back to Ireland for National League games and when they travel over here it’s very despairing our facilities compare to theirs. There’s no county in Ireland that doesn’t have proper facilities at its county ground. It’s a necessity; we have to do it and the quicker the better.”