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."
Artist's impressions of the campus can be downloaded from
TEN FACTS ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER BELFAST CITY CAMPUS