A Dublin City Council (DCC) meeting on Monday evening unanimously passed a motion to write to the Minister for Sport Catherine Martin and request that she intervene in the proposed sale of grounds in Sandymount, where the YMCA club have been playing cricket for over 100 years.
The site on Claremont Road is being sold as a vacant possession and has been advertised as a residential development opportunity.
In addition, DCC also agreed to write to the owners of the ground, the YMCA charity, to outline to the board the council’s disappointment and concerns for the loss of the amenity and their intentions to support the current tenant.
They have also requested that the YMCA justify to the DCC committee its treatment of the cricket club, who are the current All-Ireland T20 champions, and affirmed their commitment to maintaining the current Z9 zoning of the greenfield site.
The land is zoned both “Z1 Residential” and “Z9 Open Space” under the terms of the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022. This would offer the prospective purchaser the option to pursue the development of a scheme of houses or apartments, or a combination of both. However, this is subject to the necessary planning permission.
The motion passed by DCC outlined the potential for “great and detrimental loss of amenity” due to the consequent closure of the club if it was sold to a developer.
It also noted the loss that it would pose for not only the South East area and the city, but on the Leinster and Irish sporting and community, adding that schools, colleges and pensioners are all currently served by the facilities at Claremont Road.
The meeting also asked that the City Council examine, in conjunction with the Minister for Sport, the options available to them for ensuring the retention and protection of the amenity.
That the ground was to be sold first appeared in The Irish Times in March when the 6.6 acres was offered to the market by Savills for €10 million. The cricket club was not engaged by the charity during the decision-making process to sell which was presented to them as a fait accompli.
Aside from a cricket pitch, the property also operates as a gym and sports facility for its members. Built in 2001, the gym is a modern two-story building, which opens out into a large area with playing pitches and all-weather hockey pitches that are also used for football. There is also a car park with parking for about 40 cars.
The club is one of only 12 cricket clubs in Leinster that has turf wickets and according to chief executive of Cricket Ireland, Warren Deutrom, is vital to Ireland's status as a full member of the International Cricket Council. He added that the grounds and club is also a hub for the national women's team and hosting international matches and training.