Belfast Telegraph

University of Ulster car park row: Appeal against refusal for multi-storey at new campus

By Anna Maguire

The University of Ulster is to challenge a decision blocking the construction of a multi-storey car park at its new Belfast campus.

In March then-Environment Minister Alex Attwood (below) approved an application for the university's new £250m campus in the heart of Belfast.

The university described the envisioned development – which has been backed by the Department for Employment and Learning to the tune of £16m – as a "gateway into the city centre".

But a significant barrier remains after the Department of the Environment turned down an application for a sprawling car park at the new campus.

The university's application would bring together a new 487-space, multi-storey car park, a 707 sqm retail unit and a new pedestrian crossing on Belfast's Frederick Street. It was turned down at the time following concerns over the scale of the development.

The Planning Service said the application was contrary to planning policy, while residents on nearby Lancaster Street, whose properties would back on to the proposed car park, objected over fears it would overshadow their homes.

Former Environment Minister Mr Attwood said he refused the bid because it was too big and would have "too great an impact on local residents".

His stance was backed by Belfast councillors.

The Housing Executive is also opposed to the build because the area is zoned for social housing in the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan.

The university welcomed the approval of the new campus at the time, but warned that it would be "reflecting" on the refusal of the campus' car park facility.

Papers challenging the decision were received by the Planning Appeals Commission last week.

A date for the appeal hearing has yet to be set.

A spokesman for the University of Ulster yesterday confirmed that an official appeal had been lodged.

STORY SO FAR

Images of the University of Ulster's new Belfast campus were released in March last year. The £250m scheme will be built around the existing campus in York Street. At 75,000 sqm, the new campus will consist of four interlinked buildings at York Street, Frederick Street and Donegall Street.

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