CONTROVERSIAL plans for a student village and Steve Redgrave-backed sports facilities will go before councillors later this month.

Mollington-based Bell Developments’ is eagerly waiting a decision on its proposals for a 2,300-bed complex and Redgrave Institute on green belt land between Blacon and Mollington which has divided opinion.

Members of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s strategic planning committee, which meets at the HQ building at 4pm on January 24, will have to weigh up the strength of competing arguments such as the need to support the growing University of Chester while protecting the green belt.

They will be guided by planning officer Mark Lynch’s professional opinion as to whether the scheme should be approved or refused judged against planning law.

However, the decision must be referred to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if the plans are approved because it would be a major departure from the Local Plan given the site lies in green belt.

This could result in a significant delay before a decision is finally made and may result in a public inquiry.

If the plans are refused the developer would have the right to lodge an appeal within six months of the decision date.

Sir Steve Redgrave and his team recently gave a presentation to the strategic planning committee during a closed session about the Redgrave Institute aspect of the plans which would include a gym, performance suite, sports injury clinic together with lecture areas, research labs and consulting rooms.

Andy Scargill, of the Friends of North Chester Greenbelt, was then allowed to put the arguments against the scheme.