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£250m Belfast Campus Will Usher In New Chapter For City

The University of Ulster's £250 million Belfast City Campus will usher in a thrilling new chapter in the development of the University, the city and province, Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barnettclaimed today.

Professor Barnett was commenting after Belfast City Council's Town Planning Committee unanimously backed Environment Minister Alex Attwood's recommendation that the planning application for the new city campus be approved.

The Vice-Chancellor said: "The University of Ulster is delighted that both central and local government have given their approval for this significant investment in higher education, the future of Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole.

"The granting of planning permission for the £250 million Belfast City Campus will usher in a thrilling new chapter in the development of the University, the city and the region - providing a state of the art teaching and learning facility for future students and a first rate centre for research and innovation in the heart of the city.

"However, the University is also anxious to ensure that the entire city and province benefits economically, socially and culturally from the development - especially those communities bordering our campus.

"This will be an open and accessible campus without iron gates or surrounding walls. We are keen that the entire community views this as their building, as their gateway into the city centre and not just the preserve of academics and students.

"The University would like to thank Environment Minister Alex Attwood and his officials in the Department of the Environment's Planning Division for ensuring this substantial planning application was dealt with within a year.

"We would also like to thank the Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry and officials in his Department, which has given the University £16 million towards the campus, for their ongoing support and we would like to thank councillors and officials in Belfast City Council, Assembly members, the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland and officials in the Department for Social Development and ministers and officials in other Northern Ireland departments for their ongoing and resolute support."

Dr Stephen Farry, Minister for Employment and Learning, said "I welcome the granting of planning approval of the new University of Ulster development at York St. This will allow the university to move forward with its plans to create an excellent environment for students and staff alike.

"it is great news too for Belfast. The economic potential for the area is enormous, not justwith the jobs associated with the building phase, but with the spending powerof the hugh number of people visiting the campus on a daily basis,and the opportunity for local businessess to serve the needs of the university."

The Department for Employment and Learning has contributed £16 million towards the new campus.

Belfast city councillors upheld a recommendation by the Environment Minister and his officials that an associated planning application for a mixed use development in Frederick Street, including multi-storey car parking, be rejected.

Professor Barnett responded: "The issue of car parking is an important issue which the University, working with our partners in government, in the city council and the surrounding community, will have to address.

"We will reflect on this issue and look forward to working with partners to find an acceptable solution."

Ends

Artist's impressions of the campus can be downloaded from

http://www.ulster.ac.uk/greaterbelfastdevelopment/designs-plans.html

TEN FACTS ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER BELFAST CITY CAMPUS

The University of Ulster's new Belfast campus will cost £250 million - £16 million of which has already been pledged by the Department for Employment and Learning and the rest which will be raised and paid off over a 25 year period by the University itself. The Belfast City Campus, which takes in the existing campus as well as the York House, Playboard, Metropole House and Interpoint Buildings, has a 75,000 square metres footprint – equivalent to the size of Victoria Square. There will be public access to the new building on the basement, ground and first floors, with the University reopening York Lane and facilitating public access to the library, eateries on the Frederick Street side of the building and public use of exhibition space and meeting rooms. The new campus, which has been designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, will boast two landmark lantern buildings – one at the corner of York Street and Dunbar Link and one at the corner of Donegall Street and York Street On one side of the Belfast City Campus, the building will be red brick and glass and the other white brick and glass to reflect the pattern of surrounding buildings in Royal Avenue. Under the University of Ulster's plan, the bulk of activity will move from Jordanstown to the Belfast City Campus by 2018 and a total of 12,450 students (6,600 full-time undergraduates and 5,850 part-time) and 1,300 staff will relocate. This will mean around 14,000 students and 1,500 staff will occupy the building over the course of a week. The University's Magee campus in Derry~Londonderry is the only campus which has been earmarked by the University to expand undergraduate student numbers. The University hopes to begin construction on the first phase of the Belfast City Campus this summer and is aiming to complete that by the summer of 2015. It is envisaged work on the substantial part of the development will begin in 2015 and be competed by 2018. The UK Contractors Group estimated in 2009 that £1 billion of major construction generates 32,000 jobs. With a £250 million investment, the University believes there is the potential for 5,000-8,000 jobs across construction and other sectors that support major capital works. The University has been working with partners in government on a CommunityBusiness Opportunities Plan which will capture these benefits for the advantage of the surrounding communities. It hopes to complete and publish this within the next two months. Subject to planning permission, the University will retain its £13 million High Performance Sports Centre in Jordanstown which houses the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland and is used as a training and rehabilitation base by a range of athletes including Olympians, Paralympians, the Ulster rugby team, GAA, boxing, soccer and cricket stars and spend another £6.2 million on enhancing those facilities. The University will also keep its specialist FireSERT specialist engineering research facility on the Jordanstown campus and retain the Dalriada student village.