Alliance Councillor Tom Campbell has welcomed the decision of the Planning Appeals Commission to dismiss the appeal from the Ulster University relating to their application to build 600 new homes at their Jordanstown campus.
Councillor Campbell said: “This decision by the Planning Appeals Commission is good news for local people. The University failed to meaningfully consult with the local community and it’s disappointing they had to take this step. Now they have failed to overturn the Council’s decision to refuse planning permission. I would hope the UU now returns to the drawing board and produces a scheme they will fully consult on that is more in keeping with the residential nature of the area.
“The University was fixated on building 600 homes and wanted no change in that. It looked as if the plans were made by an accountant and not an architect. I would hope a revision of the scheme would be considered in the near future. We’re not objecting to the principle of development, but it’s getting the right development that secures the long-term interests of the residents there.
“The consultation exercise was so flawed that although I’m a local resident, I didn’t receive a copy of their proposals. Having met the police at the consultation exercise – the only reason they were there was because they read about it in a local paper and were curious. It was a textbook example in how not to proceed with the development of a large-scale plan.”
Also welcoming the PAC decision was East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson, who said: “I am delighted for the residents I am representing to hear that the PAC has made the right decision, and avoided irreparable damage to the Jordanstown area. This development would have overwhelmed the local community, with a massive influx of new residents putting extreme pressure on local infrastructure and services.
“It is now time for the University to produce a sustainable, positive and well-designed housing development of a much lower density than their current plans, leaving a positive legacy in the area. I look forward to engaging with the University to help plan a future that will benefit both their campus and the Jordanstown community.”
The redevelopment proposal, which involved a mixed use scheme including 600 dwellings, village centre, relocated pitches, a research and development park and the retention of existing facilities; was initially turned down by the Planning Committee in August 2015 before an appeal was lodged by the applicant. The PAC did not uphold all 7 grounds for refusal as put forward by the Council. It did however, sustain 3 of the grounds for refusal and on that basis concluded that the appeal must fail.