Chester uni plan causes Shrewsbury's Rowley's House fear

Rowley's House bbc pic
Image caption Campaigners fear the historic Rowley's House could be the site for a new university campus.

Chester University bosses are in talks to bring a campus to Shrewsbury town centre.

If successful, the university would be the first higher education provider to be based in the Shropshire Council region.

The former Shelton Hospital site, in Bicton Heath, which became derelict a year ago, is being suggested as a location for the campus.

But, campaigners fear the town's 16th century Rowley's House may be used.

University staff are currently in talks with council leaders, who have confirmed they are "looking at all the options", and currently have three Chester University staff based at Rowley's House each week.

'Solely for students'

Councillor Keith Barrow, Shropshire council leader, said: "We are looking at options, including the type of facility needed to meet Shropshire's future needs, and how best to take advantage of the opportunities available.

"We have made office space available in Rowley's House.

"Three staff from the university are currently based there for up to three days a week."

A spokesman for campaign group, Friends of Rowley's House, said: "We are hoping the building will be kept for public use.

"A campus would not be public use; it would solely be for students."

Members of the group are now compiling a list of alternative uses for the Barker Street building, which they will present to the council.

Harper Adams University is near Newport and the University of Wolverhampton has a base at Priorslee - both of which fall under the boundaries of Telford and Wrekin Council.

Earlier this month, part of Shrewsbury's Museum, which was based at Rowley's House, moved into the town centre's revamped music hall.

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