Warrington Campus Chester Uni
The campus is currently located at on Crab Lane in Fearnhead

Time Square move for Chester Uni

Sarah Townsend

The university is in talks to relocate its Warrington campus to the £142m town centre mixed-use scheme being delivered by the council and Muse Developments.

Under the plans, the University of Chester would occupy two sites within the regenerated area of Time Square in Warrington, moving from its current location on Crab Lane in the Fearnhead suburb, which was deemed unfit for purpose and levels of present and future demand in a university-led review last year.

The university is in the process of negotiating a lease to occupy an undisclosed “prime property” within Time Square. The property, which would benefit from high footfall because of its location, according to Chester, would enable more people to engage directly with the university through an information and learning hub.

The flexible space would be used for a variety of activities and events, and would allow students and staff easy access to public transport links and leisure and retail facilities at Time Square, helping students to contribute more to the local economy.

The development, which is being delivered by the council’s regeneration agency Warrington & Co and Muse as development manager, features a 13-screen Cineworld cinema and 70,000 sq ft of bars and restaurants. It is also home to Warrington Council’s new 103,000 sq ft  office and a 1,160-space car park.

Meanwhile, Chester also wants to lease a second building near Time Square but not part of the main complex, which would accommodate most of the spaces for the university’s core teaching and specialist facilities. The footprint “may ultimately extend beyond this”, the university said.

It did not provide the estimated square footage of the space it is eyeing. Muse has been contacted for further information and comment.

Under the proposals, Chester would transfer all its Warrington campus provision to the town centre by September 2022 and is considering options for its current site, in consultation with Warrington Council.

Care would be taken to preserve the campus’s history in collaboration with alumni, while the Warrington Wolves rugby club, whose training facilities are at the Crab Lane campus, have been kept appraised, the university said.

Professor Eunice Simmons, the University of Chester’s vice-chancellor, said: “Warrington is a dynamic and forward-thinking town and our higher profile will facilitate tapping into potential new markets, including higher-level vocational skills alongside traditional degrees.

“Warrington is also a town with a strong sense of social responsibility, which aligns with the university’s strategic vision to provide our ‘citizen students’ with a ‘premium, personalised and purposeful’ experience.

“For example, many members of the public in Warrington may already have been taught, treated or protected by our local Education, Health and Social Care or Policing graduates without realising it.

“We look forward to working more closely with employers, schools and partner colleges to support a joined-up approach to local and regional employment needs.”

The move will also enable the university to be “embedded into the Warrington economy, responding to local need and demand while focussing on areas of growth and supporting post-Covid economic and cultural recovery,” Simmons added.

 

Heavenly Desserts Time Square

Time Square is a £142m mixed-use development in Warrington

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What a fantastic outcome, driving footfall and vibrancy back to the Town Centre. An excellent example of bold regeneration ambitions making things happen. Some may say good fortune, others may say you create your own luck. Well done Warrigton Council et al.

By Watching with interest

Great news for Warrington town centre. A move away from reliance on shops to generate footfall and a younger demographic to support the wider leisure development.

By Macca

I doubt that this one will happen. Warrington seems destined for a change in leadership after the May elections – £1.6 billion of debt hasn’t gone down well – and the new council will want a decent return on £142.5 million investment in Time Square.

Let’s see what happens.

By Dave Marshall

That is brilliant. I did 1 year at Warrington campus wasn’t easy at all. I had take train from Chester, then walk to the bus station take a bus to the campus.

By Lipaly

I was brought up near Fearnhead. The current campus site has good potential for resi and I’m sure the Council would support its redevelopment to boost its housing numbers.

By Warrington Town Planner