University considering public meeting to discuss Jordanstown plans

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THE University of Ulster has confirmed that it is considering holding a public information session in early 2013 to give local people another opportunity to air their views on its £50m masterplan for the Jordanstown campus.

The move comes after complaints from local residents and political representatives that many people living near the campus hadn’t been notified about last Wednesday’s public consultation event at the Shore Road site.

One resident, who asked not to be named, told the Times: “Large sections of the Jordanstown community, including those who live on the Shore Road and Jordanstown Road - the people who will be most affected by the university’s plans - did not receive the university’s news sheet inviting them to the meeting.

“The short notice given that the meeting was taking place meant that a lot of people couldn’t make it, while others had heard nothing about it until after it was over.

Alliance councillor for the University area, Tom Campbell agreed that there had been “flaws” in the consultation exercise, claiming that the area had not been widely canvassed.

Expressing concerns about the scale and density of the proposed housing, and traffic and other implications for Jordanstown, he said: “My hope and expectation is that the university can now carry out a meaningful consultation exercise and arrange a public meeting to canvas and consider the views of local residents.

“I would urge the university to seek the widest possible consultation and agreement with the local community and trust that this can be the start of a process of cooperation and dialogue.”

Responding to the criticism, a University of Ulster spokesman said members of the local community had been encouraged to attend last week’s information session, examine the proposals and give feedback to the project team.

“We were delighted at the level of attendance and interest shown in the proposal.

“A number of those who attended the event, however, said they did not receive notification of the event in the form of our newsletter, which we had intended.

“The university will be investigating this matter and is considering holding another public information session in the New Year,” he explained.

University officials have stressed that redevelopment of the Jordanstown site will not be happening until 2018 and added that details of the Jordanstown masterplan are available on the university’s website - www.ulster.ac.uk