Construction is expected to commence in 2025 on CAFRE’s new Greenmount Campus

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A planning application has been submitted to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for the redevelopment of CAFRE’s (College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise) Greenmount Campus outside Antrim.

The proposal for the site at Tirgracy Road comprises the demolition of Fulton Hall, Boyd Hall, a technology building and modular storage and student accommodation units and construction of new student accommodation, teaching facilities, conference building, staff offices and facilities, access, parking and landscaping.

The design and access statement says: “The design proposals deliver a wide range of high quality workspace, learning and social environments that seek to promote community and sense of well-being for all interacting with the campus.

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“Phasing of the construction is required to allow CAFRE to continue to effectively operate on the 4.5 hectare site with minimal disruption to activities.”

Greenmount Campus in Antrim. Pic: Google MapsGreenmount Campus in Antrim. Pic: Google Maps
Greenmount Campus in Antrim. Pic: Google Maps

The report notes the Greenmount campus comprises student residential accommodation, staff offices and conference facilities which are presently accommodated within “ageing and inefficient buildings which are beyond their economic life”.

The redevelopment proposes the demolition of existing educational buildings and the phased construction of three new buildings which include a student accommodation building, teaching building and central hub building with conference centre and campus reception. Phase one will include construction of student accommodation. It is scheduled to commence in winter 2025.

Celebrates Sciences

“The campus will be a place, destination and experience which celebrates sciences, agriculture, and horticulture,” the report says.

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The existing campus had an overall enrolment of 1,380 students, 533 full-time and 747 part-time in 2022/23 with 208 living on campus.

A heritage statement notes there are four listed buildings on the site, an early 19th century grade B1 listed manor house, a grade B1 1920s former principal’s lodge and grade B1 listed 1920s gate lodge style cottages.

“We believe that the impact of the development on the heritage assets will be minimal, as they lie outside the limits of development and no works are proposed to any of the listed structures.”

CAFRE says: “CAFRE is undertaking a major redevelopment project at its Greenmount and Loughry campuses to deliver state-of-the-art student accommodation, classrooms, laboratories, conference facilities, and staff offices.

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“Greenmount Campus is the centre of all things green, delivering education and training in agriculture, horticulture and the environment in an idyllic rural setting for land-based studies. “Significant investment is required at Greenmount Campus in the buildings used for teaching, student residential accommodation, staff offices and conferences.

“The aim of this project is to ensure that the buildings and facilities at Greenmount meet the current and future needs of staff, students and the agri-food industry, are fit-for-purpose and project a positive image of CAFRE.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter