Chelmsford set for city centre revamp next year

A major £3.3million revamp of Chelmsford city centre, which will pedestrianise Tindal Square, is expected to start in 12 months’ time.

A brand new public square could completely transform part of Chelmsford High Street in the council’s ambitious new plans for the city centre.

Chelmsford City Council and Essex County Council have combined to come up with a series of ideas for Tindal Square and the High Street, including paving over the road outside Shire Hall and making it fully pedestrianised.

This would see a brand new public space created outside Shire Hall with paving, public seating, planting and a two-way cycle route.

Due to vehicle access to Market Street being cut off from New Street, the surrounding traffic will be diverted to allow vehicles to move seamlessly around the city centre.

Traffic running through Tindal Square will be diverted with vehicles accessing Waterloo Lane from Victoria Road via New Street.

Vehicles will no longer be able to access the High Street via New Street, including deliveries.

Instead, the current one-way system will be reversed so it runs from south to north, with vehicles entering from Parkway via Baddow Road.

Delivery periods will be amended to seven days a week between 6pm and 9am and subject to a 7.5 tonne weight limit.

Vehicles would be banned from using Springfield Road Bridge to protect the structure.

In the last few years, the city council has invested significantly in the public realm and recent completed schemes have included Marconi Plaza, Station Square completed in 2016 at a cost of £1.6million, Exchange Square completed in August 2016 and Half Moon Square completed in autumn 2016 at a cost of £1.9million.

The estimated cost of the detailed design and tender process for the Tindal Square works is £320,000.

The estimated cost for the construction of option one, which Chelmsford City Council is set to announce as its preferred option, is £2.9million.

When the detailed design costs and contract supervision elements are added this gives an overall total cost of £3.37million.

A statutory consultation for the traffic order is likely in late summer/early autumn, a detailed design is expected between June to October 2020 and the approval to proceed is expected in January 2021, with construction starting in spring/summer 2021.

A statement as part of a cabinet report to be discussed on Tuesday, June 2 said: “The Tindal Square Public Realm Improvement Scheme is a key priority of the city council and for many years has been identified in the council’s public realm strategy. Its delivery is in accordance with one of the council’s new corporate plan objectives to improve the attractiveness and recreational potential of public spaces.

“The improvement scheme will create a high-quality public space at the northern end of the High Street, creating a new setting for one of the city’s finest and most important historic buildings, Shire Hall.

“The scheme will provide for a new events space and demonstrate the city council’s ongoing commitment to investing in the core of the retail centre to support ongoing investment.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter