Environment impact request for Chelmsford bypass

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The first stage in the planning process for a major new bypass in Chelmsford has been lodged with Essex County Council.

Chelmsford North East Bypass (CNEB) will see a new 8km single carriageway bypass, running between between a new Beaulieu Park Radial Distributor Road and a new roundabout on the A131 at Chatham Green.

It will also involve the dualling of the existing A131 between Chatham Green and Deres Bridge roundabout.

An application has now been submitted for a scoping opinion request – a very early stage of the planning process which asks a planning authority what information should be provided in an environmental impact statement.

Proposals are set to be unveiled to the public this spring ahead of a planning application early next year.

With a 2024 opening date target, engineers are progressing designs for the Chelmsford North East Bypass, as well as the new Beaulieu railway station, which is scheduled for 2025/26.

The environmental impact assessment may have a significant influence on the final plan. It ensures that a local planning authority, Essex County Council in this case, decides planning permission in the full knowledge of the likely significant effects.

The aim of environmental impact assessment is also to ensure that the public are given early and effective opportunities to participate in the decision making procedures.

The consultation period starts on February 25 and runs until March 17.

Together the projects support the creation of over 14,000 new homes in the Chelmsford to Braintree corridor.

Essex County Council Deputy Leader, Kevin Bentley, said: “Make no mistake we are fully committed to delivering the bypass and railway station.

“Chelmsford is part of a growing county and, as a driver of the regional economy, needs a transport network to match if it is to properly facilitate development and economic growth.

“That’s why at Essex County Council, in partnership with the city council, and in collaboration with Network Rail, we are delivering this scheme.”

The road and rail upgrade has been made possible following the award of nearly £218million in funding from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, plus £34million of other funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and developer Countryside Zest.

Cllr Bentley said everyone would be given an opportunity to provide feedback on the final scheme.

He said: “We have held previous public consultations and it is our clear intention is to present final plans to local representatives and the public ahead of the planning application.

“This is essential to a scheme that will ease congestion and improve traffic flow, provide a better rail service, support housing and jobs growth, and encourage sustainable travel.

“It will also provide a strategic link between Chelmsford, Braintree, Stansted and the wider area, creating a location that is well connected to Essex and London as well as the East and South East of England.”

Cllr Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said: “Chelmsford has been expecting a new station for very many years and delivering that is vital to improving sustainable transport options. We hope it will be delivered as soon as possible.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter

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