The University of Law has revealed its intention to relocate from Christleton into the city centre by September 2018 – but is being coy about exactly where.
There were rumours the university wanted to move into the new One City Place building, by Chester Railway Station, after change-of-use planning consent was granted to convert two storeys into a non-residential educational facility.
But The Chronicle understands those floors are now ‘under offer’ by another company.
It’s unclear what the potential knock-on effects will be for the village of Christleton where the college is currently based in 14 acres of grounds.
A press release says the move nearer the city will ‘bring the university closer to the business community, offering central amenities and facilities to enhance opportunities and enrich the student experience’.
The relocation will provide access to legal employers and make it easier for the growing number of students opting for part-time courses or the new legal apprenticeships.
But the university won’t discuss the exact location, prompting speculation.
Other options could include Cheshire West and Chester Council’s HQ building, which is available to let, but the council is denying all knowledge.
Knights Court in Weaver Street could be another possibility or Pepper House in Pepper Street on the upper floors above what will become the second phase of the Dining Quarter or the Steam Mill complex by the canal.
Students currently enrolled at ULaw in Chester and staff members working at the centre will move to the new location in the city centre 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.
“We take great pride in providing our students with the best possible learning experience, which is recognised by the Gold ranking awarded to the University in the recent Government-led Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
“This builds on the university being ranked number one in the UK for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2016.”
The university, which currently operates one of its eight UK centres at Christleton, would previously only admit that an estates review was under way.
Tory councillor Stuart Parker, whose Chester Villages ward includes Christleton, is unaware of the university’s plans. He said: “We know something is about to happen but we don’t know what.”