Watkin Jones Chester Bus Depot

Watkin Jones’ Chester student scheme set for green light

A proposal to provide accommodation for 323 students on the Stagecoach bus depot site in Chester will go before Cheshire West & Chester’s planning committee next week with a recommendation for approval.

The scheme by Watkin Jones subsidiary Liverpool Road Chester would see the demolition of the bus depot, to be replaced by 45 self-contained apartments and 44 communal cluster flats with shared facilities, along with ancillary uses such as laundry and gym. The site is bound by Liverpool Road and Victoria Road, and sits within the Liverpool Road conservation area.

Neighbours to the scheme include the listed George & Dragon pub, a retirement home, extra care home, leisure centre and smaller student accommodation facilities at Arden Court and Abbeygate.

Tim Groom Architects designed the scheme, which is made up of three blocks of mostly four storeys, rising up to six storeys at the rear of the site. The elevation of the blocks fronting Liverpool Road are to be three storeys and on Victoria Road four.

Twenty eight objections to the scheme were submitted, mostly along the lines of over-development of student accommodation in the area. Chester Civic Trust lodged an objection, noting that while development of the site is welcome, it considers the scale inappropriate and the massing oppressive.

However, officers consider student accommodation at the site, a previously developed location which is readily accessible to the railway station and bus exchange, to be suitable.

Bangor-based Watkin Jones this week provided a trading update, in which it declared its intention to build 1,500 build-to-rent apartments by 2022.

The planning committee meets on Tuesday 7 November.

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