HARTFORD residents are being urged to have their say on ‘tragic’ plans to flatten the Warrington and Vale Royal College campus and build housing in its place.

The Chester Road WVR campus – formerly known as Mid Cheshire College – stopped offering all but a handful of courses ahead of this academic year, and now faces demolition to make way for up to 108 homes.

Warrington-based developer Lane End has been working on the plans, and has invited all Hartford residents to attend a public consultation event today, Thursday, from 4pm to 7pm at Winnington Park RFC in Burrow Hill.

A letter, hand-delivered last week said: “The development team would like to show the local community their proposals for the site at the public consultation event and welcome your views and ideas for us to take into consideration.

“The development team will be on hand to discuss and explain the proposals, listen to residents and provide details of the opportunities and constraints of the site.

"Display boards will be available during the public consultation event to illustrate and explain the proposals.

"Following the public consultation event, the development team will review the feedback received prior to the submission of a planning application to Cheshire West and Chester Council.”

The announcement of the plans in last week’s Guardian was met with anger and disbelief by many, who would see the campus’ educational, sports and theatre facilities retained.

Cllr Susan Kaur, CWAC ward member for Hartford, said: “The problem that we are having is that Northwich on the whole has had a lot of new houses but there is no new infrastructure.

“Hartford is bearing the brunt of this. They put the houses in, and maybe 20 years later we might get the roads. There is no medical centre, the schools are full to the brim and the only college that was geographically accessible for the whole town is being turned to houses. Where is the logic?”

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury last week called for WVR principal Nichola Newton to resign over the college’s handling of the Hartford campus closure.

He said: “It’s no secret that I am strongly opposed to these plans, not just because we need to retain the college, but also because infrastructure in that area is already under huge strain. We need further education, not more housing in that area.

“I would encourage people to engage with this consultation and have their say if they have concerns.”

CWAC member and Hartford resident Cllr Sam Naylor has urged his neighbours to attend the consultation event, but says opposition to the plans may be difficult due to the site’s brownfield status.

He said: “I think the plans are a tragedy. I would urge all Hartford residents to get along and see what the plans entail.

“I will be totally surprised if any Hartford resident is in favour of another 108 houses. Looking at the feeling that exists I would anticipate it will be quite busy at the rugby club.

“There is no doubt that there will be an increase in traffic. People say it’s not going to be any busier now the college has gone, but I don’t buy that. There weren’t 200 lecturers at the campus and most of the students walked or got the bus.

“If you look at all the current studies, air pollution is more dangerous even than the obesity crisis.”

Mervyn Ward, chairman of the college’s Board of Corporation, said after last week’s announcement that efforts had been made to continue the curriculum, but declining student numbers meant a shift in focus from the Hartford to Winsford campus.

He said: “The decision to close Hartford campus was taken collectively by the Board of Corporation following a review of the college’s estate, which demonstrated that Hartford campus was seriously under-utilised and financially unviable.

“Significant work has been undertaken to market the curriculum, however, the college’s income has continued to reduce due to a historical decline in student numbers.

“Our strategy to re-shape the Vale Royal aspect of the college’s operation and estate, focusses on Winsford as the primary location.”