by Gary Skentelbery
STUDENTS and staff are celebrating after being told their college has been awarded University status.
After investing millions in its Warrington base over the past three years University College Chester will now have its own degree awarding powers after proving to the Department for Education and Skills it has sufficient student numbers and sound financial health.
One of the biggest areas of growth at Warrington’s Padgate campus has been in the School of Health and Social Care, which has seen a 50 per cent increase in student nurses. Principal Professor Tim Wheeler said: “This is a most exciting chapter in the hundred and sixty six-year history of the College. It recognises the achievements of staff, students and the Governing Body in pursuing the case for university status. This recognition attests to the quality of the work undertaken in all of the College’s areas of endeavour, especially the quality of its awards and the achievements of its staff and students.”
“I would like to thank on the College’s behalf all the staff and students who have been at the heart of the College’s application for University status. It is also recognition of the support that the College has received from its Governing Body and the wider community.”
Helen Southworth, MP for Warrington South said: “University status for our town is something we have been working hard to achieve for a long time. This award recognises the top quality of our students and lecturers, who are among the best in the country. I am absolutely delighted at this great achievement and I will continue to work with the University of Chester in Warrington to build on this success so many more of our students can benefit from a university education.”
It is hoped that the University will formally come into being on 1 August 2005 at the start of the new academic year.
University status marks the conclusion of a remarkable period of change for the College since the new millennium and a fitting conclusion to over a century and a half of history.
As Chester College of Higher Education, its application for the powers to award its own degrees began in earnest in 2000. While this rigorous inspection by the Quality Assurance Agency was going on, the College took over responsibility for Higher Education at Warrington Collegiate Institute, located at the former Padgate College. The complex merger process was subsequently used as a case study of good practice by the Higher Education Funding Council.
boss loses job
by Gary Skentelbery
THE manager of Golden Square has lost his job just weeks after work started on a multi-million pound redevelopment of the town centre shopping facility.
Andrew Ward has been relieved of his duties following the takeover of the centre by Lendlease, who bought a major stake in the shopping centre after being chosen to handle the redevelopment.
Mr Ward has been replaced in the short term by Matthew Clemence, a London based employee of Lendlease.
His departure has been greeted with shock by members of the Warrington Town centre Partnership, of which Mr Ward was secretary.
One member said: “Andrew was an active member of the partnership and will be a hard act to follow.
“It is surprising to see someone who has been so heavily involved in the build up to the redevelopment to lose his job aty such a crucial time.
“I am sure everyone who worked alongside Andrew would like to wish him all the best for the future.”
accused of rape
by court reporter
TWO Warrington police officers have appeared in court charged with raping a 21-year-old woman while on duty.
The offences are alleged to have taken place at a car park in Warrington on New Year’s Eve, 2002.
The officers, PC Raymond Allen Waring, 31, who lives in St Helens and PC Stephen Joseph McGuire, 33, from Widnes, appeared before magistrates at Chester.
They were both charged with two offences of rape and misconduct in public office.
PC Waring, who appeared in court on crutches, was also charged with committing a further sexual act with a woman in a police vehicle on August 11 2002.
Both officers, who are currently suspended from duty, were freed on bail to appear at Chester Crown Court on April 4 for a preliminary hearing.
[Assault victim “serious”
in intensive care
by David Skentelbery
POLICE at Warrington are seeking witnesses of a serious assault on a 41-year-old man.
The attack took place in the early hours of the morning at the junction of Barrymore Avenue and Kingsway South at Latchford.
The victim suffered serious face and head injuries and was taken to Warrington Hospital where he is still being treated in the intensive care unit.
Det Constable Claire Barber said: “The victim has received very serious injuries and we believe he has been assaulted.
“We are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or who may anything about it, to come forward.”
Anyone who can help should call DC Barber on 01244 613837.
Crackdown on suspicious
by Lesley Wilkinson
A CRACKDOWN on suspicious tradesmen who “cold call” on householders touting for work is being carried out by Warrington Trading Standards and Cheshire Constabulary.
The campaign launched during Doorstep Crime Week, included stopping traders to ensure they were aware of their responsibilities. Two arrests were made during the campaign resulting from checks carried out on the stopped vehicles.
Traders, many of whom admitted that they did cold call, were reminded that they are required to give a written notice in case of cancellation – to include their name and address.
Campaign organisers say the traders were often using well-badged vehicles, often showing examples of work, and regularly included freephone and mobile numbers and occasionally web site details. Many were using trading names that were similar to well-known businesses and were distributing glossy flyers.
Most of the reputable traders stopped were in favour of the campaign.
People were asked to look out for doorstep callers and report any suspicions to trading standards. Officers responded to a number of reports and were able to reassure consumers.
Officers also met members of Victim Support during the campaign, as the organisation supports people affected by doorstep crime.
Five arrested after
drug squad swoop
by David Skentelbery
FIVE people have been arrested at Warrington after drug squad detectives swooped on two houses. The raids were both on properties in Toll Bar Road, Orford. A quantity of crack cocaine and heroin was seized by officers, along with items of drugs paraphernalia. Police said three people were arrested at one house, a man aged 29, a woman aged 30 and a man aged 21. All were charged with possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply. In the second raid, a 35-year-old woman was arrested and charged with supplying Class A drugs and a man aged 30 was charged with possession of Class A drugs. All have appeared before Warrington Magistrates Court and are likely to committed to Crown Court at a later date.
Day nursery scheme is
back before planners
by John Hendon
CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a private house into a 50-place children’s day nursery at Grappenhall, near Warrington are to come before the borough’s development control committee for a second time.
On the previous occasion, the application was deferred to enable officers to give additional consideration to highway issues.
But highways experts now say they are not opposing the scheme, subject to conditions requiring hard surfacing for car parking being imposed.
Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council has lodged an objection and nearby residents are also opposing the schem
The property involved is a substantial detached house with a large rear garden adjacent to the Grappenhall Motor Company garage.
Parish councillors say the scheme will generate a considerable number of car-borne visitors who will park on the busy A50 close to a garage and a junction which is already dangerous.
Parking provision for the nursery was inadequate and suitable only for the staff, they claim.
Neighbours also fear traffic and parking problems and say the scheme would create an accident blackspot. They also claim the site is unsuitable for a nursery because it is next to a garage which creates fumes and noise.
Planning officers are recommending the scheme be approved, however. They say there are no objections on highways grounds and the rear garden is contained by a high close boarded fence and brick wall.
The applicant is prepared to carry out planting to further create visual and acoustic barriers.
over phone mast
by David Skentelbery
A PLAN to erect a mobile phone mast at Risley, Warrington, has triggered a protest from nearby residents and local councillors.
O2 want to want to erect the 17.5 metre mast and two equipment cabinets on land near the pedestrian subway in Birchwood Way.
Officers are recommending Warrington’s development control committee approve the scheme but residents say it will have a harmful visual impact on the area, would pose a health hazard for a nearby school and day nursery and is not needed.
Birchwood Town Council are also objecting on similar grounds.
A spokesman said: “There are no requirements for further O2 network coverage in the locality, as there are no issues regarding signal quality to phones on this network in the locality.” He added that the area was already “saturated” with telecommunication installations.
O2 claim the area does not have sufficient coverage or network capacity to provide an adequate level of service for third generation phones.
Officers say there are no adequate grounds to refuse the scheme. Health issues cannot be considered as the application complies with international guidelines for radiation protection.
by staff reporter
A NEW professional coach, who has spent the past six years advancing his teaching skills in Austria, has joined the staff at Drivetime Golf Centre, Warrington.
Mark Williams originally developed his playing skills at Silloth-on-Solway Golf Club in Cumbria. He joined the professional staff at Southport and Ainsdale Golf Centre, before passing his final examinations at the PGA National Training Academy and gaining PGA status in 1997.
His time at the 45-hole resort in South East Austria gave him the chance to learn about new teaching techniques and communications skills.
“My time in Austria enabled me to experience coaching in another culture while learning new golfing tips and techniques from some great professionals,” he said.