Feb 7 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
EDGE Hill’s plans to revamp part of its campus, creating 129 new student homes and a lake are set to be approved.
The university wants to build five three-storey blocks on the eastern part of the St Helens Road site.
The scheme – in an area that currently houses an outdoor football pitch – would also involve a new lake with footbridge and landscaping.
As it stands the university campus has a shortfall of 572 to meet its existing first year demand. The current scheme – along with plans passed through last month for 144 more student homes – would reduce the shortfall to 273.
Objections have been lodged by Ormskirk Community Partnership, which said claims that the scheme would relieve pressure on the town were unproven and raised concerns over the “brief” ecological report. A nearby resident also objected, stating that the proposals ignored the impact of students moving off campus after their first year.
In a report to go before the committee borough planner John Harrison states that while the proposal “clearly constitutes” inappropriate Green Belt development the benefits to the economy and community – as well as the fact the land is earmarked for Green Belt release in the emerging Local Plan – justified very special circumstances.
A spokesman for the university said: “This application relates to the completion of the Chancellors' Court development and was submitted at the same time as Phase 7 [for 144 new homes], which was considered and approved by the planning committee in January. The additional 129 bedrooms will accommodate both first years and senior students and, with stable intake numbers, further help to ease pressure on the housing market locally.
“It also incorporates a second lake which will both deal with surface water run-off and provide an aesthetically attractive and bio-diverse environment.”
The report going before the planning committee tonight recommends delegating the decision to approve to the borough planner.