Bridgemere launches consent bid at twice-refused Christleton Hall

The Steve Morgan-led business is seeking planning and listed building consent to deliver offices and 42 homes at the site close to Chester, formerly home to the University of Law.

Plans for the 6.8-acre site’s redevelopment have now been lodged with Cheshire West & Chester Council, the university having decamped to the University of Chester’s Queens Park campus ahead of the new academic year.

Bridgemere is working with eScape Urbanists on the project, which includes the restoration of the grade two-listed hall to offer 18 apartments, including four affordable homes.

Twenty four new-build detached homes would be built – 20 four-bedroom and two each three- and five-bedroom – along with a two-storey 7,800 sq ft office building to house the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Professionals working on the project include planning consultant Avison Young, landscaper Randall Thorp, HB Architects, PAD, E3P, Trevor Bridge Associates, MET Geo Environmental, TEP, Betts Associates, Hepworth Acoustics and Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture.

As the university put together its exit plan from the campus, it teamed up with Duchy Homes to seek consent for a development project of similar size to that now proposed.

Going against officer recommendations, this was refused in April 2018 on Green Belt grounds, although the listed building redevelopment was granted. A further application was also refused.

Bridgemere then acquired the site and appointed a new design and technical team. Development partners on the project are St Asaph-based Castle Green Homes and Chester firm Blueoak Estates.

The site is bound to the south by Pepper Street and is partly bordered by former sports pitches. It lies close to the A55 and the Shropshire Union Canal.

The site hosts four main buildings: the mid-18th century Christleton Hall and its extensions, and the Townsend, Orchard and Ince Buildings. These later institutional additions made by the University are to be demolished, and the estate stripped back to its mid-20th century state: the Georgian hall and its Victorian and early 20th-century extensions.

Improvements are planned for other heritage assets such as the walled garden on site. College House, which was included in the two earlier applications, is excluded from the red-line boundary for Bridgemere’s plan.

As outlined by eScape, the site now falls into the settlement boundary as set by the adopted local plan, a policy shift since its earlier considerations. Along with the rest of the Christleton settlement, it is “washed over” by the North Cheshire Green Belt, and also falls within the Christleton conservation area.

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