BUILDERS need to reshape their thinking and concentrate on the needs of ‘downsizers’ and not students.
That is the view of former Chester MP Christine Russell in response to plans to build more than 400 student flats near Telfords Warehouse in Chester.
An audience of about 100 people turned up at Garden Lane Methodist Church to record their opposition to a Miller Developments application which has been lodged with Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC). It is likely to be decided by planning committee members either in November or December.
Speakers at the meeting, organised by Garden Quarter CWaC councillor Bob Rudd, included former city councillor Roy Hughes who voiced opposition to the proposal.
After the meeting Mrs Russell, who served as city councillor for the Garden Quarter area and was for many years chairman of the old city council’s development and planning committees, said there was no need for any more student accommodation in Chester, a fact she said was acknowledged by the University of Chester.
However there was a pressing need for more city centre accommodation for older people who were keen to downsize their existing properties after their families had grown up and moved away.
Mrs Russell said many elderly householders wanted to move into smaller properties which were near to city centre facilities. Chester, she said, still had plenty of brownfield sites for developers to use to provide such housing.
Meanwhile, Chester Labour councillors David Robinson and Bob Rudd have tabled a motion on the subject of supplementary planning guidance (SPG) for student accommodation in Chester, to be raised at tomorrow's CWaC full council meeting in Winsford.
It reads: “This council believes there is an urgent need to formulate supplementary planning guidance (SPG) for student accommodation in Chester.
“The publication draft of the local plan does not at this stage address the issue of student accommodation in Chester but is likely to do so in Part Two of the plan, to follow at a future date.
“An interim SPG will guide development of student accommodation before the production of Part Two of the local plan. It will help address concerns caused by unplanned and often speculative development In Chester.
“The timescale should be directed towards the policy being agreed by the April 2014 council meeting.”