New Chelmsford waterside development to deliver housing “where the car doesn’t have to be priority”

A new 450-home development on Chelmsford’s waterside will deliver affordable housing “where the car doesn’t have to be priority”, a council leader has pledged.

The Chelmer Waterside Development Framework, due to be approved by Chelmsford City Council at the next cabinet meeting on October 12, sets out its vision for a “high-quality residential-led neighbourhood with integrated local scale, community and water-related uses”.

The city council leader Stephen Robinson said the framework, which will highlight the council’s demands for any development partner, will focus on new homes that can be accessed from the city centre principally by foot or cycle.

He said: “The key message is we want to make the most of the waterside location to deliver sustainable urban living and affordable housing where the car doesn’t have to be priority.

“It is on the edge of the city centre where you can walk or cycle to the station and all the shops.

“It will be designed from the outset for that.”

The development framework document sets the vision for about 450 homes delivered in the old gas works, with the River Chelmer and the canal on either side.

The framework will eventually be replaced by a masterplan that will govern any future planning application – expected in 2022 with construction commencing in 2023.

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, and a new gas pressure reduction compound are already being progressed.

The bridge access obtained planning permission in June this year and has now entered a period of technical design with construction due to commence in late 2022 and complete in 2023.

The new gas pressure reduction compound has been designed in co-operation with Cadent Gas and a planning application will be submitted this year.

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