Bid to change planning condition could allow occupation of hundreds of more homes at Chelmsford development

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As many as 400 more homes could be occupied at Beaulieu housing development in Chelmsford over the coming months if permission is granted to change a major planning agreement.

Developer Countryside Zest currently has a ceiling of 1,000 homes that can be occupied until the Radial Distribution Road (RDR) Phase 3 works – which includes the replacement of the new bridge on Generals Lane – are completed.

The request to modify the obligation would increase the occupation trigger from 1,000 to 1,400 residential dwellings.

The purpose of this obligation is to mitigate against the impact of traffic movements to and from Beaulieu on the surrounding road network.

But developers argue that the number of actual trips from a total of 1,400 occupied dwellings in the morning rush hour is actually slightly lower than the initial traffic assessment made before any building of the Beaulieu development took place.

They say that development traffic flows are not as predicted and even without lockdown restrictions traffic growth is considerably lower than predicted.

A letter to Chelmsford City Council – on behalf of countryside Zest – read: “We therefore respectively request an increase in the amount of development that can come forward prior to the opening of the RDR by 400 completions.”

Initial planning suggested the RDR Phase 3 works would be completed by September 2021. This will now not happen until spring 2023 when the new bridge opens.

The letter continues: “The change we seek is a pragmatic change that takes account of the delays that have occurred with securing approval to commence the RDR3 and Boreham interchange works.

“But will have no impact as a result of the travel planning work that Countryside has undertaken and the official changes to traffic growth forecasts that have occurred.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter