THE University of Ulster’s publication of its masterplan for the future of the Jordanstown campus represents an incredible opportunity for people of the area to shape their community.
That was the message this week from University area Councillor Ken Robinson.
Last week the university unveiled its £50million plan for the redevelopment of the campus post 2018, after it relocates the bulk of its activities to a new campus in Belfast.
While retaining the student village, the specialist fire safety research centre and the sports facilities, the main campus building will be demolished to make way for between 500 and 700 new homes and a new village centre.
Councillor Robinson told the Times: “It will be sad to see the university go and while I would have liked to have seen more retained, there is an opportunity for us all to have our say on the plans.
“For over 40 years the university has provided Newtownabbey with a wonderful educational package combined with the primary and secondary education services we have.
“As well as providing a great deal of jobs in the borough it has also been a fantastic selling point for Newtownabbey to businesses throughout the world and while it is sad to see that go after so long we are where we are and we have the opportunity to have a say on the plans.”
He went on: “This consultation process allows the community to positively influence the proposals in a constructive manner. And if the university is committed to the consultation we can improve and enhance the character of the area to everyone’s benefit.
“It is in the early stages and the plan is very flexible and we can secure a deal which will be to the benefit of those people living in Jordanstown and to all in Newtownabbey.”
The UUP man added: “For me I think there should be room made available for a new educational facility as there is likely to be an increase of children in the area.
“And also in conjunction with the Roads Service there should be scope for an improvement to the infrastructure.”
One Langley Hall resident contacted the Times to say she feared there could be a significant increase in traffic congestion in the area if the plan goes ahead.
However, university officials and consultants Strategic Planning have said there will be no noticeable increase in traffic as they believe that the current number of students and staff will be replaced by residents and the development will be a “positive” for the area.
University of Ulster Provost for Jordanstown, Alastair Adair, speaking to the Times at last week’s launch of the masterplan, said he was very confident the proposals would go ahead.
He said: “This will be a highly desirable residential development with fantastic transport links and people will want to live there.
“There is a long way to go before with have the final plans ready and at this stage it is still flexible about what we can do.
“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.”