A government inspector has given the go-ahead for more city centre student accommodation after overturning Cheshire West and Chester Council’s decision to refuse planning consent.
The planning committee had rejected an application by William Fishwick and Son Ltd to build two blocks for 121 students close to Fountains Roundabout after demolishing the existing buildings.
This was on grounds the height, scale and massing would cause unacceptable harm.
But inspector David Murray found the proposed building would have a reasonable relationship with adjoining residential properties.
He added: “While the accommodation proposed would be designed for use by students, it has not been demonstrated that the nature of this use would be likely to be materially harmful to the character of the area. Nevertheless, the appearance of the area would be improved by the redevelopment of this partly vacant and disused site.”
A delighted Simon Edwards, property manager at William Fishwick and Son Ltd, said: “The scheme can now proceed which will help revitalise this area of the city and considerably improve the street scene along Upper Northgate Street.”
Welcoming the news, Andy Scargill of Friends of North Chester Greenbelt, said: “As well as being in line with the One City Plan and the Council’s own independent report on student accommodation, it will also tidy up a very ugly site on one of the main gateways into the city. With this scheme in place it is now our belief that the student accommodation market has been catered for and we can see no reason for any more schemes coming forward.”
An application for costs by William Fishwick and Son Ltd on grounds the council had behaved unreasonably, partly by ignoring the advice of its professional officers, was rejected.