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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Springvale 'stamped with failure'
By Maggie Taggart
BBC NI Education Correspondent

US President Bill Clinton cut the first sod
US President Bill Clinton cut the first sod
An assembly watchdog committee has sharply criticised the University of Ulster and a government department over the failed Springvale project.

The project, aimed at setting up a university campus on the Springvale site in north/west Belfast, led to at least 3.6m wasted.

The Public Accounts Committee said the UoU and Department of Employment and Learning lost the will to succeed.

The report said the scheme was "stamped with failure".

The committee of MLAs feels "very strongly" the DEL "failed in its role as the government's representative on Springvale".

An Audit Office report almost a year ago was critical but this report goes further.

"Appalling", "ill-advised" and "disturbing" are some of the adjectives used in this review of the Springvale debacle.

As well as the money wasted in the process was the unquantifiable cost of the time and effort put in by local people and various government agencies.

However, the committee said it is the community in a heavily deprived area "which is paying the price of failure".

The committee wants the government to now look afresh at creating a significant educational facility on the site.

Committee chairman John O'Dowd said: The university's vision changed, they can't tell us exactly why their vision changed.

"The department failed to carry through on this project.

"There was an onus on the department to ensure, not only value for money, but that the social and economic regeneration of north and west Belfast went ahead."

The first sod of the Springvale campus was cut in 1998 by the then US President Bill Clinton.

The university announced it was pulling out of the project in 2002.

'Millions wasted' on Springvale
30 Nov 06 |  Northern Ireland
Springvale campus under threat
27 Sep 02 |  Northern Ireland
70m university campus approved
08 Feb 00 |  Northern Ireland

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