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Chester's controversial student village plan to be decided by full council
12:15pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
The second planning application for a controversial student village near Chester will be considered by a full meeting of the council.
A special meeting of Cheshire West and Chester Council last night narrowly voted in favour of changing the authority’s constitution to allow all 75 members to consider the application as a planning committee.
Members agreed by 32 votes to 30 to send the student village application to full council to be determined.
Campaigners have spent almost two years fighting the proposed development on land between Blacon and Mollington.
The scheme has divided opinion in the city and the council’s Tory group.
Developer Bell Developments claims the 2,300-bed village and sports institute could be worth £270m to Chester.
But opponents have called the scheme pointless, saying the village was not needed and threatened Chester’s unique character.
Some 2,700 people signed petitions against the scheme and more than 500 letters of objection have been lodged with planning officers.
Councillors in Blacon, Mollington and Saughall and Chester MP Stephen Mosley have all called for the plans to be thrown out.
Cheshire West and Chester chief executive Steve Robinson said the meeting to decide the application’s fate will be held as soon as logistically possible once a suitable location has been agreed and councillors have received training in planning law.
Whatever the outcome of that meeting, the scale of the scheme means it will be referred to the Department for Communities and Local Government and Secretary of State Eric Pickles will have the final say.
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