Chelmsford flooding mitigation space could be decked for new café

Part of the Bond Street shopping area in Chelmsford designed to mitigate against flooding could be completely remodelled to accommodate a new café.

Plans have been submitted to Chelmsford City Council for the existing open space area at Bond Street to be decked over to allow for the café.

The design closely follows a previous scheme, granted in 2016 but which expired three years later, with a steel supporting structure and a timber deck.

Bond Street developers Aquila says the area has historically been underused due to its distance from the original shopping area of Chelmsford

It accommodates small events at seasonal times but for the remainder of the year it remains “underused and undervalued”.

The single cafe will provide a maximum of 24 covers internally but space outside could be used for additional tables.

A planning statement said: “The design proposal has been carefully crafted to ensure the site retains its historical function as an events space while providing vital facilities with the addition of a purpose-built café plus a landscaping buffer to the existing Bond Street development.

“The architectural intent of the scheme focuses on minimising the impact of the proposal within its existing surroundings while enhancing the visual connection to the river through key sightlines and design of the proposed built form.

“The scheme offers a proposal which allows the open space to be used year-round without the constraints of the river flooding the existing site. Existing constraints have been carefully incorporated into the scheme while enhancing the functionality and relevance of the site within the heart of Chelmsford’s recently completed shopping district.”

The area has been designed to flood to protect the wider Bond Street shopping development from the River Chelmer. A flooding report says decking will have no impact on the available flood compensation capacity.

It last flooded in January during the heavy downpours of Storm Henk.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter