Plans for ‘monstrosity’ student block in Chester are rejected


Staff reporter (Chester Standard)

PLANS for an eight-storey student block “monstrosity” were shot down at a crunch meeting last night.

Developers Jansons Property had hoped to build a £30 million tower for 376 students on land near Black Diamond Street and Hoole Way, near the Royal Mail centre and railway bridge.

But members of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to reject the plans yesterday.

Having visited the Newtown site earlier this week, councillors queued up to slam the proposals.

Cllr Gill Watson said: “It looks awful. It’s just not something I can support.”

And Cllr Eleanor Johnson added: “It’s huge, it’s enormous; it’s totally out of keeping.”

Members said nearby homes would be completely dwarfed by the student block, and would likely receive little natural light.

“They’re going to be blacked out completely,” said Cllr Norman Wright. “They will need lights on in the middle of the day!”

Cllr Samantha Dixon, council leader and ward councillor, said she agreed with comments by Chester Civic Trust that the plans resembled the much-maligned former Travelodge on the city’s Fountains roundabout.

“It’s an excellent example of ‘pile it high and sell it cheap’,” she told the committee.

Lisa Miller, representing 50 households with residents’ group Newtown Chester Locals, said the noise and mess caused by students would irrevocably affect people’s quality of life.

“It will create a chaotic parking crisis,” she added.

Ben Roberts, representing Jansons Property, had tried in vain to convince members that the development represented a “high quality building” fit for a gateway into the city.

By offering dedicated student accommodation it would free up 100 to 150 traditional homes in the city and “help the university attract the best students”, he said.

The main entrance was on Hoole Way, meaning local businesses would benefit and the students would not need to venture into Black Diamond Street and St Anne Street.

However, his words failed to hit their mark and the application was rejected on the grounds of design, scale and impact on public amenity.

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