Manchester United legend Gary Neville has highlighted the plight of St Lawrence’s GAA club in Manchester, after a planning application to develop sports facilities in the run-down Turn Moss area of Manchester were rejected by the local council.
Non-league Salford City, a club co-owned, and Trafford council wanted to develop facilities on an area of green belt in Stretford, but objections from local residents have forced Neville to look for an alternative site for his development.
The plans included a training base for Salford City, that would have been available for the local community to use, with a floodlit 3G pitch, increase car parking, outdoor terracing and a children’s play area that would have significantly upgraded the dated sports facilities currently at the Turn Moss site, but the protesting local residents have blocked the plans.
“Sports playing fields all across the country are being decimated, closed down, ruined, run down because they haven’t got the long-term income to sustain them to the correct standard,” stated Neville, in an interview with the BBC.
“Sports investment into local community facilities is going to have to change and we were never able to get our message across unfortunately.”
Now it has emerged that St Lawrence’s GAA would have been one of the sports club’s benefiting from the development if it had been given the go ahead.
Neville tweeted a story from the Irish World newspaper highlighting the concerns of St Lawrence’s GAA, with club spokesman Jimmy Wray telling the newspaper that the failure of the planning application is a blow for his club.
“Turn Moss can’t go on as it is. There’s no safe changing facilities for children or women. They either have to go behind a bush, or take them to the nearest retail outlet,” stated Wray.
“It would have been a better environment and we would have been working very closely with Gary and Salford City FC on their community programme. Salford City FC were keen to work alongside us.
“Gary was looking to set up a community hub for all of the users, which would have met once a month and if there were any issues, or any ways in which he could help the clubs, he was more than willing.”
Neville and Salford City will now seek an alternative site for their training hub, with St Lawrence’s GAA left to ponder their next move as they try to continue at a Turn Moss home that is in need of major renovation.