Council agrees with ‘significant doubts’ over Chelmsford housing development bus link

Chelmsford City Council has accepted there are “significant doubts” about the safety, viability and benefits of a new contentious bus link being drawn up as part of a major development.

A bus link proposed as a part of huge plans for 800 homes in the west of Chelmsford will destroy a “well functioning beautiful estate”, residents have argued.

Crest Nicholson, which is planning the Warren Farm development, has come under fire for the new road for buses, taxis and motorcycles planned between the new estate and the entrance to Avon Road Park.

This will cut through the existing park, woodland and children’s play area, and include a new two-way road bridge over Chignal Brook.

The developer is also proposing a four-way traffic light controlled junction at this location.

The roads around the Trent Road triangle will also be widened, which would include a two-way link for cars on the south side, and a two-way bus only route on the north side of the triangle, building over existing trees and green space.

Crest says the bus link, which will see eight buses an hour, is vital for its plans to allow efficient transport in and out of the estate.

The area in which the homes are planned was approved for development when the local plan was passed in May.

However, residents looking to use the masterplan consultation, which is to agree the broad outline of the development, to campaign for the scrapping of the bus gate altogether, have been bolstered by Chelmsford City Council.

The council’s policy board agreed at a meeting on July 16 that more work is needed to be done on the transport elements of the proposal.

A motion, supported by councillor Rose Moore, stated: “The policy board accepts there are significant doubts about the safety viability and benefits of the bus link.

“It therefore transfers all the sustainable transport elements for this development to officers.

“It agrees if necessary to convene a special meeting for the board to review the master plan before cabinet.”

Officers have flagged up a number of concerns aside from the bus gate including the curvature on a secondary road, rights of way and pedestrian cycle routes.

Cllr Moore said that expectations from residents of the Chignal estate that public concerns and ideas will be taken into account “have not been met”.

She said: “Instead they are faced with a seemingly immovable obstacle. Right from the outset this small parcel of land between the existing and new communities is exactly the type of natural green space that we pledged to protect, enhance and preserve in our local plan.”

She added: “It represents a mature and well established area of habitat and is of great importance to the local community and the  idea that infrastructure  should sever this, destroy a habitat and endanger existing wildlife, not to mention the health and wellbeing of residents just appears to be unacceptable.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter