Northern Ireland

Ulster University: PAC upholds Jordanstown housing plan rejection

Jordanstown
Image caption The university said it was disappointed by the decision

A decision to block a major housing development on the site of Ulster University's Jordanstown campus has been upheld by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC).

The university is moving much of its Jordanstown operation to Belfast and wants to build 600 houses on the site.

The plan was rejected by Antrim and Newtownabbey Council who said it did not show a "quality housing layout".

The university appealed to the PAC, but it has backed the council's decision.

The PAC rejected the appeal on three grounds, all of which relate to the loss of open space.

Contrary to planning policy

It said that two areas of mature vegetation which would be removed under the university plan "are worthy of protection from development".

It added that removing them would be contrary to planning policy and "would have a significant adverse effect".

It added that the plan would also result in "a poor quality environment in parts of the site", which is also contrary to planning policy.

The ruling raises the prospect that the university could submit a fresh, scaled-down plan.

It notes that "redevelopment of the site for residential use would not, in principle, be out of character with its surroundings".

It adds that the council is "not opposed to housing taking place within the site" but was not persuaded that 600 houses would respect the existing landscape of the campus.

In a statement, a UU spokesperson said: "The university is obviously disappointed with the PAC's decision to dismiss the appeal for the Jordanstown masterplan which we still believe is a quality and viable development project.

"We are currently reviewing the report in detail in order to consider our options and next steps, and are encouraged by the dismissal of many of the refusal reasons and some of the positive comments made by the PAC."

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