THE REDEVELOPMENT OF Ravenhill was officially given the go-ahead today.
Planning permission has been granted and the home of Ulster Rugby will get a €17m makeover with the help of funding from the government in Northern Ireland.
The blueprints for a proposed upgrade of three sides of the ground were submitted back in 2010 and the news was announced by Stormont Environment Minister Alex Attwood this morning.
Ravenill’s capacity will increase from 12,300 to 18,200 after two-phased improvements to the Memorial and Aquinas End Stands, meaning it will be the required size to host a RaboDirect PRO12 final or a Heineken Cup quarter-final in the future.
Construction work on the 89-year-old stadium is not expected to begin until the end of this year and the redevelopment should be completed by 2015.
A modern, fit-for-purpose and spectator-friendly stadium will enhance Ulster Rugby’s standing and will assist the development of the sport from the grassroots through to international levels,” said Ulster Rugby Chief Executive, Shane Logan.
“On behalf of Ulster Rugby, I would like to express our thanks to Minister Attwood and his officials at the Planning Service. I would also like to reiterate our thanks to the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Sport Northern Ireland for their assistance with the project to date.”
Attwood himself added: “Planning approval will now lead to the creation of a stadium that is fit for the 21st century.”