Plans have been lodged for a 150-bed student housing scheme next to Chester Fire Station.
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.
But a Labour councillor is already raising concerns about the absence of associated car parking fearing students will add to the already overcrowded parking situation in surrounding streets despite the accessibility of the nearby railway station. She also points out the taller of the two blocks is about the same height as the fire station training tower.
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. One block would be a ‘long residential building’ while the other is described as ‘a taller 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’.
Amenities would include a reception, cycle store, communal laundry room, a landscaped area and a drop-off zone for when students are moving in and out. Previous projects have included student accommodation schemes at St Michael’s and Bagot Street in Liverpool.
But Labour opposition leader and city centre councillor Samantha Dixon said: “There is no car parking whatsoever in an area where parking is already the number one issue. It’s a fallacy that students don’t bring cars.”
She said the area was predominantly occupied by older people and is concerned about whether lifestyles will clash.
Cllr Dixon is currently gathering residents’ views on a proposal which she says would represent ‘a very prominent’ building which would be the ‘same height as the tower at the fire station’.