Effect of Chelmsford gas plant on residents ‘considerable’

A new gas pressure reduction station is to be built next to an allotment site in Chelmsford.

This is to replace the existing station near Chelmsford city centre where the old gas holders used to stand.

The relocation of the existing gas station has to be done to allow the redevelopment of that part of Chelmer Waterside for a new 450-home development on Chelmsford’s waterside delivered in the old gas works, with the River Chelmer and the canal on either side.

But where the gas pressure reduction system (GPRS) is being relocated to – land next to allotments and Lockside Marina – a block of flats overlooking the water has caused consternation from residents and users of the allotments.

The proposed development for a new gas pressure reduction station (GPRS) and medium/low gas pressure governor is need to control the pressure of gas being added to the National Transmission System (NTS).

It enables high-pressure gas supply arriving at the site to be reduced sufficiently to be safely fed into homes.

Linda Elton, whose flat in Lockside Marina will overlook the new installation said at Chelmsford City Council planning on May 4: “I am extremely concerned about the effect it is going to have on the residents.

“You are trying to mention odours and then dismiss it by saying it is not going to happen really.

“We live there and the effect it will have on the people who live in that building is considerable

“Also at the moment I look out onto allotments. There is a waiting list for those allotments and yet you want to build something that is half the size of a football pitch.

I just wish you would consider would you want something like this in your back garden. Because effectively that is what you are asking us to do.”

In a separate submission Hill Road Allotment Association said it was objecting to this proposal due concerns over increased noise, and odour, and soil contamination together with the wider environmental, and ecological impact that the proposed GPRS will have on the site itself and surrounding area.

It said: “We are strongly formally opposing the relocation of the Gas Pressure Reduction system to the Hill Road South allotment site and request that the application be refused permission because of its adverse effects, which can’t be dealt with satisfactorily by using conditions or obligations.

“Whilst we support the provision of housing growth in the Chelmer Waterside development, we do not think that the relocation of the gas pressure reduction system to the allotment site is a sensible or sustainable option.”

Neil Jordan, Senior Planning Officer at Chelmsford City Council said: “Cadent have said there is no contamination. They don’t contaminate the soil on the site and they don’t contaminate the soil surrounding the site.

“It’s a sealed system It is a high pressure system and has to be sealed and under pressures to push the gas along the piplines.”

Taylor Wimpey are already building 446 new homes at a site adjacent due to be completed by the end of 2022.

Other key infrastructures, including the new bridge connecting the new development with Parkway near the Army and Navy.

A new lock, subject to funding, could eventually sit alongside the weir to allow boats to navigate further into Chelmsford City Centre and provide a destination for the 14-mile stretch of navigable water from Heybridge Basin.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter