PLANS to include 15 retail units in the University of Chester’s takeover of County Hall have come under fire.
If an application is accepted, the shops will occupy the Riverside Annexe of the building in a u-turn by the university who had originally set the area aside for more classrooms.
They now say graduates wanting to start businesses will be able to use the facilities there and that the Chester Innovation Economy Centre, as it will be called, will create new employment opportunities.
Permission was granted in September for the building to become an education and training centre, but then the university submitted plans to alter plans for the annexe section to include shops too.
Reg Barritt, of Hartington Street, Handbridge said: “If anybody’s going to occupy that space it should be Cheshire West and Chester Council.
“There’s been a lack of consultation about this. The university promised it would only use the building for administrative and educational means.”
Mr Barritt suggested the university use empty units at Chester Business Park instead. “The idea of the business units is generally a great idea but at this location is highly questionable.
“And the way it’s been dealt with is very questionable.”
University of Chester spokeswoman Alexandra Williams said: “The focus of the business incubation units will be recent graduates looking to start up businesses related to their degree.
“The building will also house high quality conference, meeting and ICT facilities and offer a forum for knowledge exchange between the University and the surrounding business community.”