Controversial plans to build 42 homes at the University of Law’s Christleton campus will be decided next week after its relocation to a city centre office block was today given the green light.
More than 100 objections have been lodged against the housing proposal which goes before the Cheshire West and Chester Council planning committee on Tuesday with a recommendation for approval.
The plan has been called-in for a committee decision by ward councillor Stuart Parker (Con, Chester Villages) on grounds the development is ‘unacceptable’ as it is set in the green belt.
Today (Thursday, April 5) CWaC approved the university’s plan to move its operation to the ground and fifth floors of One City Place by the railway station.
But the application to redevelop its Christleton campus for housing is more contentious with 101 objections received along with 10 letters of support.
The 42-homes scheme would comprise 14 apartments within Christleton Hall and the erection of 27 dwellings as well as the replacement of an existing house, currently used by the caretaker. Thirteen of the properties would be designated ‘affordable’.
Among concerns are the impact on highways and traffic; ‘insufficient services’ in the village; ‘no requirement’ for further housing development; a ‘negative impact’ for existing residents and that it represents ‘inappropriate development’ in the green belt.
The scheme would have to be approved by the secretary of state due to an objection by Sport England who are concerned about safeguarding land that currently forms playing fields as it would be regarded as informal open space rather than playing pitches.
ULaw has said the fields would remain in private use with a requirement to provide such facilities as none are available in the city centre.
Supporters says the number of dwellings is appropriate with a good mix of housing and affordable units; the scheme would not have a significant impact on the highway and children would be within walking distance of schools.
Recommending approval, planning officer Jill Stephens wrote: “The site is considered to present good accessibility to services and would promote sustainable modes of transport. The development would provide a mix of dwellings, including affordable housing to add to the mix of housing in the locality.
“The development would represent development of a brownfield site and would therefore not amount to inappropriate development in the green belt. It is considered that the development would respect the character of the street scene and local area as well as maintaining and enhancing the heritage assets, namely Christleton Hall.
“It is also considered that the proposal would not have a significant adverse impact on residents’ health or quality of life, having particular regard to residential amenity, and would have no unacceptable impact in respect of highway safety, could safeguard ecology and could provide suitable drainage provision.
“As such, the development is considered to conform to the provisions of the relevant development plan policies and the framework.”
A recent ULaw statement revealed staff and students currently enrolled in Chester will move to the new city centre location in September 2018.
Professor Andrea Nollent, vice chancellor and CEO at The University of Law, said: “For both our students and the law firms with whom we have close partnerships, our new location will bring them closer together in the city centre as part of Chester’s vibrant business community.
“Not only will this enhance our current offering but it will also create new opportunities, from which our students, staff and employers can benefit.”
The university operates from eight UK centres.