Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council may have a conflict of interest in the planning application for the proposed Southern Regional College, says the SDLP.
Cllr Declan McAlinden believes the planning decision should be passed to the Department of Infrastructure.
And he has asked the Council’s Chief Executive to refer the pending planning application as soon as it is received by the council.
“The proposed development of the Southern Regional College is a significant development for the area, both in terms of capital investment but also in the young people of this area.
“Everyone locally recognises the need for and welcomes the investment in a new, modern state of the art facility. This is an investment in the future generations of this area.
“However I am mindful that the proposed location at the Lakes in Craigavon has caused some concern in the local community although there are many supporting the development also.
“After a detailed process, the Southern Regional College purchased the site from the old Craigavon Borough Council. I believe it could be argued that the council have a conflict of interest in this case and I don’t believe they should therefore be the determining body.’
“The Department of Infrastructure should call in the Southern Regional College application, the same way they intend to do with the new application for the redevelopment of Casement Park. This will mean an application will be dealt with in a fair, open and transparent way. Council, with any perceived potential conflict of interest, will play no part in the application. I believe this will give residents the confidence that their concerns are listened to independently.’
“Local residents also point to the historic lack of investment by both central and local government in the wider Brownlow and Central Craigavon area. This is an issue council can and must lead on.
“There is a need for investment in community facilities and resources in the area.
“I have asked that the Council’s Chief Executive and the Director responsible to convene a cross party meeting of councillors from the Craigavon Electoral area to address the need for multi-agency investment and redevelopment of the area. I hope this meeting can take place in the coming weeks.”