PLANS for a controversial student village were withdrawn this morning (Friday).
Bell Developments is no longer pursuing its current planning application for a 2,500-bed student village, sports facilities and car parking on green belt land between Blacon and Mollington.
However, it is understood Bell intend to amend the plans with a view to resubmission in order to address some of the concerns raised during the consultation process.
The developers must prove ‘very special circumstances’ to get permission in the green belt. It is understood Bell’s decision to withdraw at this stage has come about because the council planning officer has indicated the case is not proven.
Planning authority Cheshire West and Chester Council today confirmed the scheme had been withdrawn after The Chronicle followed up rumours circulating in the community.
Council press officer Ian Callister said: “They (Bell) have withdrawn the application this morning but as far as the reason for doing so they will have to explain that.”
The authority’s strategic planning committee was due to have made its decision at HQ in Chester on Thursday, May 10, after considering the planning officer’s recommendation.
However, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, will have the final say if the scheme eventually receives council approval.
The proposal has divided the community.
Some residents’ leaders argue a dedicated student village is desperately needed because areas like the Garden Quarter have become imbalanced due to the number of family homes being turned into student bed-sits.
However, campaign groups have been set up by people living in Mollington and Blacon who don’t want to overlook student housing when their current outlook is onto a large green field.