Squash Proposal Fact Sheet
In advance of the EGM to take place on the 20th February to decide on whether two reports requested by Dublin City Council should be subbmitted as part of the Club’s planning application, the Squash Committee would like to clarify some misunderstandings and provide factual information to members regarding the Squash Proposal.
- It is to be stressed that the Irish Squash Federation, who would assist Mount Pleasant LTC in obtaining a special infrastructure grant, would have no influence or say in club matters whatsoever.
- Planning Permission Application Mount Pleasant LTC has submitted a planning application as part of a feasibility study on the development of additional squash facilities. Dublin City Council (DCC) planning department has requested further information which requires the club to commission two professional and independent reports. Seventy-one squash members, thirty-seven parents of juniors, the residents association, an ex-junior member and a club coach have fundraised the €5k to cover the costs of these reports so there is no cost whatsoever to the club in commissioning or submitting them to the planners. Should members agree to submit the reports at the EGM they will be shared with members online as soon as they are produced. On foot of receiving the reports DCC would be likely to make a decision within 4-6 weeks on granting planning permission or not.
As the moving of the gate could be mutually beneficial to the club and our neighbours, the Residents Association wish to support us exploring whether moving it would be possible from a planning perspective. Naturally only members of the Club have the final say on any proposed alterations.
The seeking of planning permission is exploratory and does not commit the club to any course of action. If the reports are submitted and planning permission is granted it is envisaged that a fully costed proposal and funding strategy will be brought before members to vote on in early 2020.
To view the planning application file please follow the link: https://tinyurl.com/yayqofd2
- Move Entrance As part of the feasibility study we are assessing the possibility of relocating the entrance off the residential square to ease traffic congestion on the square and provide for improved and safer vehicular access to the club. Moving the entrance would also make the club more visible from the main road which would undoubtedly help improve attracting new members. This would be a win-win proposal for members and residents alike. If members agree by vote at the EGM, an independent traffic impact report will be commissioned and submitted to DCC planners as requested by them. This report would be shared with members in advance of any further decisions and investment once completed in April.
- Trees Unfortunately a small number of trees would need to removed if the planning application is successful and the proposal goes ahead with member approval. Our best estimate is four trees would need to be removed out of a total of 114 large trees (more than 15 feet) and 57 medium trees (approximately 10-15 feet) in the grounds of the club (tree count estimated from google maps). As requested by DCC planners and if agreed by a vote at the EGM, an arborists report will be commissioned and submitted to the planning authorities which will establish with certainty the exact number of trees on the grounds and which will be affected. In the event the proposal gets member’s approval all trees will be replaced by new planting. The arborists report would also be shared with members in April.
- Car Parking The number of car parking spaces would remain the same under the proposal at 81 spaces.
- Club Capacity: Extra Members The addition of new courts would bring in new members which is a priority for the club. At any one time this would mean a maximum of an extra 6 players on court and 6 players changing and 6 socialising. The club can easily accommodate this usage of general club and changing facilities this additional usage would not cause any difficulty. 7. Club Capacity: Squash Tournaments The extra squash courts would allow for the increase of the number of entries for our annual Mount Pleasant Squash Open by approximately 44 players over 3 days bringing the maximum total number of entries to 108. This means an extra 4 players would be playing at any one time, 4 getting ready to play and 4 players socialising or watching matches. This tournament takes place during January every year. With an increased capacity for the Mount Pleasant Squash Open (albeit still significantly smaller than the Mount Pleasant Tennis Open or the Out To Tennis event) we hope that an enlarged Mount Pleasant Squash Open would bring increased vibrancy and revenue to the Club over a short number of days. In a normal year the number of open tournaments we would envisage running with new facilities in place would be 3 per annum: Mount Pleasant Open, PSA event (restricted to 32 entries), and Mount Pleasant Mixed Junior Open. Two of these events are already long standing fixtures in the club and Irish Squash calendar. The staging of any external tournaments like a PSA event or even one-off events (like the 5 Nations Junior Championships which took place in Mount Pleasant in 2014) would require management approval.
- Club Capacity: Spectators The maximum number of spectators to any squash event, like semi-finals or a final, would be 100 people, based on the numbers attending the Irish Open in Fitzwilliam which is the biggest squash tournament of the season. The club facilities are well capable of coping with such numbers as evidenced by the Tennis Open Week finals and 505 nights. In addition, these events take place during the weekend when the club is normally at is quietest. We would anticipate hosting a PSA event every one to two years and one-off events every 3 years.
- Use Of The Club By Non-Members Irish Squash currently use Mount Pleasant’s courts for Junior National Training. This arrangement would be extended to include the two new courts if they were built. This use is at weekends when the club is underused, a maximum of 15 players would be training at any one time and this would be approximately every 4 weeks from September to May. It is very likely that some of these squad members would be club members as a number of our juniors are already in national squads. It is to be stressed that the Irish Squash Federation would have no influence or say in club matters whatsoever as a result of the assistance given to secure funding.
- Cost To The Club - If Proposal is Approved by Members The vast majority of the cost of building the additional squash facilities would be met by a special a infrastructural grant (mediated through the Irish Squash Federation), a Sports Capital Grant and squash member’s fundraising. We would hope that the club would contribute approximately €100k of the overall project cost and we predict that this funding would be recouped over 5-6 years with increased membership income (for example an extra 30 senior and 50 junior members would increase membership income alone by over 18k per annum). Until planning permission is secured it would not be possible to approach funding organisations and present a fully costed proposal to members to vote on.
Subject to members approval at the EGM, the independent traffic and arborist reports requested by the DCC planners would be commissioned by the architects, Lawrence and Long Architects, on behalf of the club. The reports would be paid for with the funds raised through the fundraising campaign organised by the Squash Committee and would be the property of the club.
- Space V Income
Bellow is an architect’s drawing of the actual space five squash courts would occupy on the club grounds compared to a single tennis court with room to spare. This space with 5 squash courts would accommodate approximately 150 adult members and over 100 junior members. At present one tennis court accommodates 54 tennis members, that is an approximate income of 81k (squash) versus 26k (1 tennis court). So we can increase club revenue and members without impinging on playing time for tennis members.
- February 20th EGM: Subject to members approval at the EGM, commission and submit the reports to the planning authorties at DCC in respect of the current application for permission to build wo additional squash courts and the relocation of the Club entrance. Cost to the club: zero. DECISION POINT
- April: Reports completed and shared with members on-line. Cost to the Club: zero.
- June: DCC decision on planning permission expected and to be shared with members online. Cost to the Club: zero.
If planning permission is granted
- Summer 2019: Work with the assistance of the Irish Squash Federation to secure special government funding for regional infrastructure projects in respect of the glass court.
- Early 2020: Produce fully costed proposal and present to members for vote at an EGM - DECISION POINT
The squash committee undertake to provide members with a quarterly update in the club newsletter on the progress of this proposal should members vote yes at the EGM.
The Squash Committee and squash playing members ask that you attend the EGM on 20th February and vote in favour of the squash section continuing it’s investigation into the feasibility of developing squash facilities at Mount Pleasant LTC and relocation of the club entrance.
Squash Committee February 2019
Access to courts
As at December 2018 squash had 90 squash only members, 27 Adult “multi-sport members and 50 active junior members approximately 170 in total. Only 6 members can play at any one time equal to 3.5% of squash membership. On the same basis tennis have approximately 580 members where 44 can play at anyone time this is equal to 7.6% of tennis membership. For squash members to enjoy similar playing privileges as tennis the club would need 6 squash courts or to look at it another way tennis members would have similar difficulty as squash members currently, regarding playing privileges, if the club had only 5 tennis courts. So the addition of 1 singles and 1 doubles court would go a long way to addressing this disparity. Even with an increase in membership numbers due to extra courts, conditions would dramatically improve for squash members where currently over 90 members compete for one court during league nights (Monday-Thursday).