PLANNING officers have backed proposals for more than 120 new student flats near the Fountains Roundabout in Chester.
Applicants William Fishwick and Son want to demolish buildings on Upper Northgate Street and build two new accommodation blocks housing 121 students.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) planning officer Steve Lewis recommended the plans for approval when the application goes before the planning committee on Tuesday.
His report states the proposals fits in with the One City Plan, which encourages residential accommodation for students in the city centre.
He said: “The site is brownfield land which is mostly vacant. It is located within close proximity to the city centre and its amenities and well placed to be within easy access to the main university campus at Parkgate Road.
“These facilities are accessible by means other than the private motor car, including by foot, bicycle or public transport.
“The development satisfies the fundamental locational principle of sustainable development.”
Cllr Bob Rudd, who represents the Garden Quarter, called in the application because of concerns over the scale of the accommodation blocks, the lack of car parking and potential noise problems.
Currently there is a four-storey building containing an Anglian Windows store and seven flats on the site, along with a two-storey building containing a workshop and two vacant flats.
There have been 17 objections lodged with concerns including the impact on the Garden Quarter, which already has problems with parking and late-night disturbance.
Some opponents also believe there is no need for additional student accommodation in Chester while others argue no decision should be made until the controversial student village scheme has been decided.
But letters have also been received in support of the scheme and the Friends of North Chester Greenbelt group backs the proposal.
Andy Scargill, chairman of the group, said: “This is a well designed building on a derelict site, with planning permission, very close to the university so it ticks all the boxes.
“It has clearly impressed the council planners since they have recommended it for approval. There is no reason why this should be turned down.”
Mr Lewis said the loss of commercial premises would normally be a concern but he was happy to proceed in this case.
He said: “The employment premises have not been used for some time, and their continued use would not appear to be commercially viable.”