However, Professor Wheeler’s bumper wage is below the national average of £272,000 for vice chancellors according to details obtained from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted by the University and College Union (UCU) which represents lecturers.
But his £255,000 wage has risen considerably since The Chronicle reported he was earning £190,000 five years ago.
The FOI response also reveals five senior University of Chester managers come under the remuneration band covering £100,000-£149,999.
'Named and shamed'
However, the initial failure to respond to the FOI meant the UCU included the university in its 24-strong ‘named and shamed’ list alleging lack of transparency. The university has now offered an explanation and this week answered all the questions in response to a follow-up enquiry by The Chronicle.
Professor Tim Wheeler, who became principal of University College Chester in 1998 and the first ever vice chancellor in 2005 after it became a university, has overseen a massive expansion bringing millions of pounds to the region. But according to The Complete University Guide the university has fallen in the rankings from 68th in 2013 to 93rd now.
And critics such as Chester Community Voice say areas like the Garden Quarter have become imbalanced due to the influx of students.
China and the Far East are being targeted as part of its future growth strategy which has included overseas trips by the vice chancellor who has visited China to foster strong working relationships.
And the FOI response reveals he took three economy return flights in the financial year ending July 31, 2015, costing a total of £1,460.
There was also total spend on 34 nights of hotel accommodation costing £2,806. Personal expenses last year amounted to £901.
A University of Chester spokesman explained why it was so slow in answering the FOI request.
He said: “When UCU followed up their Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request shortly before publishing their story, the university’s FOI officer had been taken seriously ill, with no warning or opportunity to effect a handover.”
When university staff managed to gain access to the FOI email account there was no apparent sign the UCU request had been received but they were also aware a request by UCU on this topic had been answered previously. Furthermore, the institution’s audited accounts were publicly available on the Charity Commission website.
The spokesman added: “It therefore seemed to be the case that the request had either been answered or was the subject of publicly available information. The university recognises that the request is not completely answered by public documents and is happy to provide the additional information in respect of each question asked by UCU.”