Call for UUJ application to be dealt with by minister

Councillor Tom Campbell.
Councillor Tom Campbell.

Councillor Tom Campbell has called on the Environment Minister to step in over the University of Ulster’s plans for the Jordanstown campus.

The £50million masterplan will see the university retain and invest in its sports facilities in Jordanstown along with the student halls of residence and the specialist fire safety and research facility.

The main campus building and car parks will be replaced with a 600-home residential development and a new village centre with retail, commercial and community units.

The plans were unveiled last year and a series of public events were held on the campus for the community to view the plans and have their say.

Last month the proposals for the redevelopment of the campus were submitted to the Planning Service.

At last week’s council meeting, university area representative Tom Campbell expressed his concern over the development of the site and called for the proposals to come under article 31 of the Planning Service’s code.

This enables the Department of Environment to deal with major planning applications under special procedures to consider major or large scale proposals.

If the matter is designated as an article 31, it would most likely see the Environment Minister make the final decision.

At a July 8 council meeting, Councillor Campbell said: “Giving the timing of this application, there is a limited opportunity for the council to express its views.

“This is a substantial application and it will have a significant impact on Jordanstown and it is important we are given the opportunity to fully consider what it being proposed and it is my belief that this should be made an article 31 application.”

He continued: “There were a number of problems with the university notifying the residents of the proposals when they were raised last year.

“The plans were supposed to have been sent to all the residents in the area, but there were problems with the delivery and indeed I was one of those residents who did not receive the plans in the post.

“For a development of this size and the significant impact it will have, it is only right that all the residents are properly consulted.”

He added: “There are questioned that need to be addressed.

“With an influx of so many people there will need to be the proper provision for them.

“Whiteabbey Primary School is already over-subscribed and we all know about the parking problems in the area.

“With the size and complex nature of this application, it needs to be properly considered.”

Speaking last year to the Times, University of Ulster Provost for Jordanstown, Alastair Adair, said: “It is vital for us that at all times we work with the Jordanstown residents and community and they are with us as we go forward.”