University of Chester plans £40m medical school

A planning application for a new 130,000 sq ft medical school at the University of Chester could be submitted before Christmas, with the university aiming to start construction in spring 2019.

The university is proposing a £40m facility as part of the expansion of its Parkgate Road Campus, the scheme to be built on land owned by the university between Parkgate Road and the A5480.

Under preliminary plans, the facility will include four lecture theatres; six science laboratories; a library; a clinic with consulting rooms; and office space.

Externally the development will provide parking for 250 vehicles, a new junction with Parkgate Road, and extensive landscaping include two lakes as part of the new campus.

Chester currently does not have a specialist training facility for doctors. The university established its Institute of Medicine in autumn 2014, and has been developing its undergraduate degree in medicine since then. The degree has yet to be signed off by the General Medical Council and Department for Health.

The university will start consulting on the new facility in the coming weeks. An outline planning application is due to be submitted to Cheshire West & Chester Council by Christmas.

If approved, construction would start in spring 2019, and the first 100 medical students would be recruited in the 2019/20 academic year. The building would be ready for use by June 2021.

Once operational, the facility would provide 90 new jobs for academic and professional staff. Development, construction, equipment and resources for the project is due to cost an estimated £40m.

Professor Tim Wheeler, vice-chancellor, said: “The NHS at a local and national level is a key part of the University of Chester’s activities.

“The university is now being given a rare and privileged chance to join an elite of 32 higher education institutions with a medical school.

“This is a significant move for the university, but more importantly, it is a potentially life-changing development for the population of Cheshire, Wirral and Shropshire, three of the few areas of the UK that currently lack a medical school, ensuring a continuing supply of GPs and other highly trained physicians.”

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