The Oval

Leisure development

The Oval, Parkgate Drive, BT4 1EW

About The Oval

The Oval football stadium, situated off Parkgate Drive in East Belfast, has served as the home ground for Glentoran Football Club since the early 1900s. Presently, it comprises two covered spectator stands running along each touchline, complemented by original standing terraces at the goal ends, which lend the venue its distinctive oval-shaped designation. The primary grandstand, located on the southern side of the pitch, was initially built in 1953, while the smaller North stand dates back to 2000. In total, the lands of the stadium spans 2.75 hectares.

Due to its proximity to the Belfast shipyards, the Oval suffered severe bomb damage during the Belfast Blitz in 1941. Aerial bombing destroyed both grandstands, causing the loss of Glentoran's club assets, and also left a large crater in the pitch. The stadium remained dormant until 1949 when it underwent reconstruction by the Glentoran club in collaboration with supporters, who collectively established the 'Back to the Oval' committee. Throughout their period of displacement, the club competed in matches at the venue of another Belfast club, Lisburn Distillery – Grosvenor Park.

In 2000, the Oval underwent a renovation of the railway stand, financed by attaching seats onto the existing terraces to form a stand with a capacity of 1,600. This project received funding through a small grant as part of a larger £2,000,000 investment in Northern Irish sports announced by Sports Minister Michael McGimpsey. Apart from the installation of new floodlights and minor refurbishment of a section of the terrace, the stadium has not sought nor received any further public investment since then.

In 2012, following deliberations on selling naming rights to The Oval, Glentoran revealed proposals to relocate the club to a new stadium within Belfast's Titanic Quarter. Subsequently, The Oval was sold to property developers in March 2013 for £4 million. The chairman of Glentoran hinted at the possibility of redeveloping The Oval into social housing.

In March 2021, Glentoran Football Club submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) (LA04/2021/0960/PAN) proposing the demolition of existing spectator stand to be replaced with 2 new all seater stands totalling 4000 capacity and reconfiguration of existing standing terracing at goal ends providing 2000 person capacity. It also proposes new turnstiles and site works to include additional car parking and improved circulation routes within the site. The redevelopment is thought to cost between £8-10million.

In February 2024, Glentoran Social Partnership submitted a planning application (LA04/2024/0211/F) proposing the redevelopment of the existing stadium by way of demolition of both existing stands and construction of two new spectator stands with reconfiguration of existing standing terracing at goal ends, new turnstiles and associated siteworks including new floodlighting, additional car parking and improved circulation routes to provide an overall capacity for 6000 spectators on site.

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