Magee expansion bid will have to be considered by new ministers

The Magee expansion business case will have to be decided upon by new ministers appointed once the Stormont Executive gets back up and running, government officials have said.

Friday, 2nd June 2017, 8:53 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:41 pm
The Ulster University Magee campus, Derry. DER3115MC002

It is now over 16 months since the business case was submitted on behalf of Derry City & Strabane District Council and Ulster University.

The revised bid details how by 2025, the overall provision at Magee should rise to 9,400 full-time equivalent students. A partnership with the North West Regional College would achieve an additional 750 full-time undergraduate places by 2024.

A spokesperson for the council this week vowed to continue to work with Ulster University and other stake holders to “put pressure” on central government to prioritise the Magee proposals in its programme for government.

The ‘Journal’ had asked the Department for the Economy for an update on progress since the business case was submitted.

A departmental spokesperson responded: “The Department for the Economy is in receipt of a proposal from the Derry~Londonderry Strategy Board for the expansion of the Magee Campus of Ulster University.

“The proposal has to be considered in the context of a need for expansion of higher education provision, funding availability and the priorities for that available funding, all of which are matters that would require consideration by ministers and hence any decisions will need to await the appointment of new ministers.”

A spokesperson for Derry & Strabane Council, meanwhile, said that it continues to work closely with its partners at the Ulster University and the relevant government departments towards advancing with the plans to expand campus at Magee.

She said that the expansion of Magee remains one of the council’s key strategic objectives, adding: “We are confident that the business case clearly outlines not only the benefits for the city and district but the huge benefits for the North West region and Northern Ireland as a whole. The expansion of Magee is essential for the wider economy in helping us create 1,000 new jobs and bring an added GVA of over £44m to the local economy.”

A U.U. spokesperson said: “Ulster University remains committed to realising the full potential of its Magee campus expansion plans. The business case is with the Department for the Economy and, in partnership with Derry and Strabane District Council, we continue to maintain close contact with the Department.”