Work has started on three student blocks being built next to Telford’s Warehouse in the Garden Quarter.
Many fear the 350-bed scheme will sound the death knell for the traditional community due to concerns it has reached a studentification tipping point.
Miller Developments received the green light from an inspector after appealing a Cheshire West and Chester Council decision to reject the project.
But fears remain around anti-social behaviour including the build-up of rubbish, inconsiderate parking and noise, plus the undermining of a vibrant community with a strong arts scene and a worry the character of music venue Telford’s Warehouse won’t be the same.
Ward councillor Bob Rodd said previously: “There are people who are extremely upset over what is happening to their community. I am doing my best to placate them and keep spirits up but I can’t see a way forward at the moment.
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“We are going to have live with the decision the planners have made, even if they live 200 miles away.”
In making his decision, inspector Roger Pritchard said Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) – as opposed to houses in multiple occupation– may be the best option given there was ‘an almost inevitable’ development of a ‘student quarter’ close to the University of Chester’s main campus.
He wrote: “In such circumstances, additional PBSA may well be the most suitable means to provide the additional accommodation that will be required in a manner that would mitigate against the possible harm that residents believe that expansion would bring.”
Meanwhile, rapid progress is being made to build a 121-bed student housing complex next to Chester Fire Station in Newtown that will rise to six storeys. Manchester-based Property Alliance Group (PAG) gained consent last summer to demolish a derelict bakery in Trafford Street then erect a two-block studio apartment scheme in its place, ready for an autumn 2016 opening.
The building is controversial because of fears it will overshadow existing properties and that students may bring cars to the neighbourhood where on-street parking is already in short supply.
Another student scheme is also shooting up in Upper Northgate Street, next to the Fountains roundabout, by Chester-based student accommodation specialists Cityheart Ltd for 117 occupants, which also aims to be ready by September 2016.