The University of Law is consulting villagers over plans to build around 50 homes on its existing campus to fund a relocation to Chester city centre .
It was recently announced the university (ULaw) would be moving from Christleton to an undisclosed city centre site.
Now it is clear the ULaw intends to redevelop its existing rural base, set in 14 acres of grounds, into a ‘quality’ residential scheme.
A leaflet to residents says a public consultation drop-in will be held at Ince Building at the law campus on Wednesday, July 19, between 2.30pm-7.30pm, where members from ULaw and the project team will be available to discuss the proposals.
The flyer, issued by ULaw and planning consultants Lichfields, says: “The University of Law Chester is planning to move to Chester city centre in September 2018. This will allow ULaw to invest in the student experience with bespoke new premises close to its business community, amenities and facilities.
“To facilitate this move, ULaw is seeking to redevelop their campus at Christleton. This offers a rare opportunity for the sustainable redevelopment of a brownfield site for high quality residential development, set within a historic context and attractive landscaped setting.”
The leaflet says the residential scheme would be for a mix of apartments and houses including family homes and affordable properties on ‘previously developed land at a sustainable location’.
There would be associated infrastructure, open space and enhancement of the grade II-listed Christleton Hall and other heritage assets.
Benefits are claimed to include meeting local housing needs and more spending power to bolster local facilities and services. No planning application has been submitted so far but residents are invited to comment on the proposals at this stage.
A presentation was given to Christleton Parish Council on July 4.
Tory councillor Stuart Parker , whose Chester Villages ward includes Christleton, said: “I think this is a precursor to putting in a planning application.
”The site is green belt, from what I understand.
“The hall itself would be made into apartments and the huge car park would be the site where they would propose to build the houses so because it would need a change within the green belt, it would not be looked at favourably.”
Cllr Parker did not wish to be drawn on his view at this point, but added: “I need to consult with the parish council and see what the feeling is from the residents. We are there to represent the interests of the people.”
ULaw is not divulging its new city centre location.
There were rumours it 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.
Students currently enrolled at ULaw in Chester and staff members will move to the new city centre location 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.”
The university operates from eight UK centres.