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Havelock project in limbo

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

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Banbridge Hockey Club is set to lose out on a substantial amount of earnings after the contractor appointed to lay the new pitch went into administration.
Club President Roger Martin said they are "extremely disappointed" that the new pitch project at Havelock Park, which the club has been working on for some time, has been put on hold.
Ballymena-based Crawford Group, who won the tender to lay the new pitch earlier this year, ceased trading on 18 April.
It was the same company behind the 300k play park development within Solitude Park, Banbridge.
The company had committed to finishing the replacement pitch at Havelock by Easter. However, the brakes have been put on the project and it is not known when it will be completed in light of the difficulties.
Mr Martin said the contractor going into administration has caused the club "a lot of problems".
He has pledged that the club is doing everything it can to get the project finished.
However, he acknowledged it will mean the club will miss out on valuable income from a number of planned events.
“We had a large number of events planned and are now going to be out that loss of earnings. We had planned to hold the EY Champions trophy fixtures at the weekend (5 and 6 May) but as the pitch is not ready we had to tell Hockey Ireland that we could no longer host it.
“That event was going to give us a guaranteed income from the gate ticket prices. We now do not have that.
“Obviously the hockey season has come to an end for the Men's firsts and Ladies' Thirds however between last week's fixtures and a number of junior blitzes that we had planned, there is a substantial amount of money that we are losing out on," said Mr Martin.
He added that the club is indebted to Banbridge Academy and Banbridge High School for allowing them to use their pitches but said they know we "need to get the pitch down as soon as we can".
“We have plans in place to get the project back on track as quickly as possible," added Mr Martin.
He said when Crawford Group won the tender, the club never thought this would happen.
"They had been in business for 25 years and had put down six similar hockey pitches to what we were requesting. We did not see these problems coming," he added.
While the club fundraised for the new pitch, they were "helped over the line" by funding from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and the Department for Communities.
A council spokesman confirmed Banbridge Hockey Club "was successful in applying to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council's financial assistance programme to assist with costs towards the development of a new pitch at Havelock Park".
“The council has been made aware that the contractor appointed by Banbridge Hockey Club to undertake the work has since gone into administration however the club is working towards a solution and have given assurances that the work will be completed in due course," said a council spokesman.
Meanwhile, a Department for Communities spokesman confirmed they contributed "117,000 in support of the project".
“The department has been kept fully informed by Banbridge Hockey Club of the ongoing issue with regards the contractor entering into liquidation. The department is supporting the club as it works on putting in place alternative suitable measures to complete the project," said a department spokesman.

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