Belfast Telegraph

High Court bid against university car park is thrown out

By Alan Erwin

A High Court judge threw out a challenge to the University of Ulster being given the go-ahead to build a multi-storey car park at a new £250m Belfast campus.

Mr Justice Treacy ruled that Ellen Doyle had no legal standing to seek to overturn the granting of planning permission for the development on Frederick Street.

He said she had not participated at any stage in a process subject to public advertisement.

The verdict clears the way for the building of a 355-space car park along with a 707 sq metre retail unit, landscaping and pedestrian crossing.

It is expected to form part of a larger scheme for a new city centre campus, described as the most important regeneration project in Belfast over the next decade.

The University's original application for a 487-space car park was rejected for being too big.

The scheme also faced objections from some local residents and the Housing Executive, because it will be built on land zoned for social housing.

But in February the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) approved the reduced size construction. It ruled that the benefits of the wider redevelopment proposal outweighed the loss of sites for around 30 social housing units.

Ms Doyle went to court in a bid to judicially review the PAC decision.

Her application was resisted on points about a lack of standing and delay.

Under the relevant legislation anyone mounting such a legal challenge must have a sufficient interest in the issue.

Although both the original application for planning permission and the University's appeal to the PAC were subject to public advertisement, Mr Justice Treacy noted that Ms Doyle responded to neither.

She insisted that she only found out about the PAC decision two months later.

But the judge held that being unaware of public advertisements could not be a sufficient basis to confer standing.

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