Birmingham & Black Country

Gaelic sport HQ threatened by M42 bypass

Treasurer Martin Morgan
Image caption Treasurer Martin Morgan said Highways England was 'taking memories away'

The "home of Gaelic sport in Britain" could be forced to move under plans to upgrade part of the M42.

A £282m relief road at junction 6, by the National Exhibition Centre, could be the end for Pairc na hEireann, home to Warwickshire Gaelic Athletic Association.

The site was built up with money raised by the Irish community which bought the land in the 1950s.

Treasurer Martin Grogan said Highways England was "taking memories away".

Mr Morgan, who has also played at the club during his 30-year association, said: "This is home to Gaelic sport in Britain. Full stop.

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Image caption Hundreds of people play hurling, camogie and Gaelic football at the site

"There's no other complex as big as this outside Ireland. It's prime location and we're not going to move from here."

Nearly every weekend, hundreds of people play hurling, camogie and Gaelic football there.

Three options for the route are being considered by Highways England and a dual carriageway link to the west of Bickenhill would pass right through the association's land.

Option one:

  • A 2.4km (1.4m) dual carriageway link, to the west of Bickenhill, between the Clock Interchange [on the A45] and an "all movements junction" allowing north and south access to the M42 north of Solihull Road

Option two:

  • A 2.3km (1.4m) dual carriageway link, to the east of Bickenhill, between the same interchange and an the all movements junction allowing north and south access to the M42 north of Solihull Road

Option three:

  • A 1.6km (0.9m) dual carriageway link between the same interchange but with a "restricted movements" junction with the motorway north of Shadowbrook Lane

Highways England said the junction has almost reached capacity and the upgrade is needed to ease the severe congestion and prepare for the arrival of a new HS2 station, which will also see traffic grow.

A spokesman said it was considering responses to a public consultation and decision had been made yet.

"We are in touch with the club and will keep them fully informed.

"As with all of our schemes, we would do everything we can to minimise its impact on the environment, local communities, local businesses, road users and residents."

Image caption Gaelic sports teams from all over Britain and Ireland come to Pairc na hEireann

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