A plan for a 121-bed student housing scheme next to Chester Fire Station is recommended for approval.
Manchester-based Property Alliance Group (PAG) Ventures Ltd wants to demolish the derelict bakery in Trafford Street, Newtown, then erect a two-block ‘luxury student studio scheme’ in its place.
The application will go before Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee next Tuesday, June 30 with a recommendation by planning officer Clare Appleyard that it should be given the green light.
But council leader and ward councillor Samantha Dixon has ‘called in’ the application for a committee decision because of the ‘inappropriate scale and design of the building’, the ‘absence of any provision for car parking’, ‘inadequate cycle parking’ and the detrimental effect on the neighbourhood communities of elderly and vulnerable people.
121 student beds
The proposal is to erect the 121-bed student accommodation on the site of the bakery, a reduction from the original 150-bed scheme, with each studio bedroom having en suite bathrooms, kitchen facilities, a living area and working area.
The proposal includes communal facilities including a reception area, cycle store, laundry room and bin store. The revised scheme has increased cycle parking.
The highways officer raises no objections but asks for a contribution towards a residents’ parking scheme that would involve set-up costs of £10,000 and three years funding. Chester Civic Trust objected to the original scheme on grounds it represented ‘overdevelopment’ of the site.
In conclusion, the planning officer said it was unlikely an alternative employment use was likely to come forward for the bakery site. Chester Local Plan supported the provision of student accommodation within Chester in accessible locations for the University of Chester.
An accompanying document explains that the scheme is a joint venture between award-winning PAG and Primus Property Group who have previously worked together on ‘high quality, well-designed schemes’.
It continues: “The current developments by Primus Property Group demonstrate this focus on design, safety, quality, light and space together with ‘hotel inspired’ living/study areas. This is in direct response to students’ aspirations to live in environments that help them succeed at university.”
The document highlights that the location, next to the fire station and near the Northgate Arena, is just 10 minutes’ walk from the University of Chester’s main campus and within walking distance of the city centre and the train station. There would be ‘a long southern block’ and a ‘northern entrance block’.
Traditional and contemporary materials are proposed by the developers who aim to deliver ‘refined and honest buildings’ designed on ‘modernist principles which stand the test of time’.