View guides

University Launches Bid to Save Science Park

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The University of Chester has launched a bid to regularise its activities at Thornton Science Park after the site was put in jeopardy.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has turned down a retrospective planning application for the £120m site that would allow it to be used as education facilities.

The decision was passed after a Health and Safety Executive cited an unacceptable risk to students due to the proximity to Stanlow oil refinery.

An enforcement notice was then issued but has been delayed due to an appeal submitted by the university.

The university was gifted the former research centre by Shell in 2016 and is asking the council to grant a Lawful Development Certificate.

The institution argued the site has operated as a mixed-use development since the 1940s and very little has changed since then.

Documents submitted as part of the application said: "The use of the site is a sui generis mixed use, comprising elements of research and development, laboratory, teaching, work place training, including ancillary facilities such as offices, canteen etc. This remains the lawful use of the Thornton Science Park, which has for many years been, and remains, a single planning unit."

"The use is a composite use where the component activities have fluctuated in their intensity from time to time and will continue to do so. Uses within the above description have been undertaken since the 1940s."

Those against the university's plan will feel students need greater protection, which was illustrated by a major fire that broke out in a manufacturing building next door to the refinery.