RESIDENTS and businesses have objected to the latest plan to build student accommodation in Chester.
Miller Developments Ltd want to build 408 student apartments and 50 car parking spaces on land on Raymond Street, behind Telfords Warehouse in the Garden Quarter.
The plans were submitted in September and the council has already had hundreds of objections from Garden Quarter residents, businesses and local groups.
Issues raised in the letters include the high number of students in the Garden Quarter already, the height of the proposed buildings and that the university has recently converted their own site off the Fountains roundabout.
The objectors include Telford’s Warehouse which backs onto the proposed site.
BBC Radio Wales DJ and Telfords Warehouse DJ Adam Walton said increasing the numbers of students in the area would destroy the balance of the community.
He said: “Over the 20 years that I’ve been presenting radio shows, Telford's Warehouse has been the only music venue in Chester that has given a stage to important and vital new artists, including Coldplay, Georgia Ruth, Cate Le Bon and Sweet Baboo. These are just the nights I’ve been involved in, featuring new artists who went on to become international names.
“Telford’s is unique. It’s the one thing that has kept me living, and paying my taxes in Chester for the last 16 years.
“Student accommodation in such close proximity to this most valued resource in a city mostly devoid of equivalent amenities is bound to cause a conflict of interests with noise and a detrimental effect on Telford’s asthetic and historical qualities.
“Given Chester’s recent aspirations to City of Culture status, it’s ironic and of concern that such a plan could compromise its most important cultural hotspot – and the livelihoods of all of the young, local people that it employs.
“Ironically Telfords is an important meeting point for the ever-growing student population. Telford’s helps student integration into wider society.
“In a city where there is a perception, especially in the communities around Telford’s, that the needs of the university and its students appear to take precedence over the community, somewhere where students and locals can meet and mix is increasingly important.”
Peter Hadfield, of the Chester Civic Trust, said the proposals would look out of place in an area full of grade II listed buildings.
He said: “This important site lies in the conservation area and forms part of the historic canal basins.
“It’s situated between groups of listed buildings including the roving bridge, dry dock, graving lock, Telfords, Diocesan and Raymond Houses – all listed at grade II. Any development must preserve or enhance its character.
“Chester Civic Trust consider that this is not achieved by this scheme. It is grossly out of scale and adversely affects the conservation area, the setting of adjacent listed buildings and views into and from the city centre.
“The Trust therefore urges the council to refuse this application.”
Andy Scargill, chairman of the Friends of North Chester Greenbelt, said the plan would ‘ghettoise’ students into one area of the city.
He said: “While there may still be a need for some ‘university hall’ type accommodation, the schemes currently in the pipeline can more than deal with the number required.
“It’s worth noting that other ‘pipeline’ applications currently under consideration are on sites which already enjoy permission for apartment-style residential housing – whilst this one doesn’t.”