Planning permission granted for £10m sports facility at Ulster University in Jordanstown
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A two-storey extension is planned on land beside the sports centre at Shore Road to include a gym, fitness suite, physio room, clubhouse with bar, teaching/event space, extended reception area, cafe, changing rooms, equipment stores, multi-purpose rooms and footpaths.
A council officer told the committee there would be “no loss to existing open space provision” on the site between the main campus and sports pitches, currently used for parking and it would have “no significant impact on amenity of residents” before recommending the application for approval.
A report to the committee said: “The section of lands identified as existing open space within the application site are utilised for existing sports pitches and will remain unaltered and unaffected by the current proposal.
“It is noted that elements of the university buildings are currently not in use, however, ongoing educational and leisure uses still continue to operate from the site including the use of adjacent sport pitches. Additionally residential student accommodation is also located within the wider campus site.”
The facilities currently available within the existing centre, the report noted, include an indoor 3G pitch, a wellness and health suite, athletics area, sports hall, strength suite, gym and two squash courts with outdoor facilities including grass pitches, tennis courts, water-based pitch and outdoor 3G pitch.
Planning agent Tony Quinn told the meeting: “It is important to note that the university is determined to support facilities for the benefit of students, public and sports organisations. The site offers unrivalled outdoor space.”
He went on to say the proposed development represents a £10m investment and will extend the sports centre as Ulster University is “committed to enhancing the site”. He noted a free bus service for students so they can frequent facilities.
Threemilewater Alliance Alderman Tom Campbell asked about proposals for the rest of the Jordanstown site and if there are any plans to re-use an existing swimming pool.
He was advised there are “no definitive proposals” for the remainder of the site at this stage, adding all relevant stakeholders and the public will be “fully consulted” on any future plans.
He indicated the university “did not consider it feasible” with regard to the swimming pool and it was “not considered a viable option for this proposal” having “to work within their budget”.
Threemilewater Ulster Unionist Cllr Stephen Cosgrove moved the proposal to accept the recommendation to approve, seconded by Ald Campbell. His proposal was approved unanimously following a vote.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter