The council deputation included Councillors Tom Campbell, Billy Webb and Lynn Fraser (Alliance) and Ken Robinson (UUP). At its monthly meeting councillors in Newtownabbey unanimously agreed to support a proposal from local Jordanstown Councillor Campbell to have this planning application declared an Article 31 application. Cllr Campbell says he wants a public inquiry given the scale and density of the application and its impact on the local community.
Cllr Campbell said: “There are major implications for the immediate area in terms of its impact on the environment and in terms of infrastructure provision. This development would have a negative impact on the local community in Jordanstown. It appears to have been poorly thought through and has the impression of expedition instead of cautious preparation and consideration.
“The University has always said that it was keen to preserve its legacy when it eventually departs from the area. I cannot see how any reasonable observer would consider that this would create a positive legacy for the area, given the huge scale and density of the proposals.
“I would urge the University to preserve its legacy in a favourable way and therefore to withdraw these ill thought out proposals. It appears that little consideration has been given in the proposals to major traffic, infrastructure and other vital issues which must be addressed before the application can be considered seriously.
“The University has failed to consult in a meaningful manner about this application with local residents or with the local Council. I had understood that it was to consult again with Jordanstown residents given the representations made to it about failings in its communication with those immediately affected.
“I am at a loss to understand how the University could have thought that such a proposal would be remotely acceptable. It is on a vast scale and its density is completely unacceptable. It brings with it significant extra traffic and there has always been a lack of school places in our local primary school. If these residents of 600 homes have children, and it must be assumed that there will be many families moving in to such a development, it appears that little thought has been given to how they are to be educated, which is surprising and ironic for a University.”
Article 31 of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 enables the Department to deal with major planning applications under special procedures where they consider that the development for which the permission or approval is sought would, if permitted:
- involve a substantial departure from the development plan for the area to which it relates; or
- be of significance to the whole or a substantial part of Northern Ireland; or
- affect the whole of a neighbourhood; or
- consist of or include the construction, formation, laying out or alteration of a means of access to a trunk road or of any other development of land within 67 metres of the middle of such a road, or of the nearest part of a special road.
the Department will apply Article 31 procedures where:
- an application raises major issues with respect to the housing strategy in a development plan, for example a challenge, post adoption, to the plan’s phasing
- an application is made to change significant zonings
- an application has major implications for infrastructure provision