Residents slam housing plan for Chelmsford

Residents living next to an agreed 340-home estate in Chelmsford have hit out over an anticipated increase in houses and that the tallest buildings will be situated at the highest point of the land.

Developer Hopkins Homes’ masterplan for the planned housing scheme at Manor Farm, located to the north of Maldon Road for 340 homes, was given the green light at a Chelmsford City Council policy meeting last week.

But not before concerns that the number of homes that will be built could be increased by 36 per cent from the 250 homes set out in the council’s local plan.

There is also criticism that the buildings as tall as three storeys are being planned for the highest part of the arable fields next to Maldon Road.

Mary Cordeiro, who spoke at the meeting on Thursday November 4 on behalf of Sandon and Baddow residents, said low rise buildings should be built along Maldon Road and higher buildings further away and down the slope.

She said: “Residents are puzzled as to why the developer proposes taller buildings are closest to Maldon Road which is the highest point in the land parcels.

“The density and height seems to be totally the reverse of how it should be given the topography of the area.

“The whole housing development should be in keeping with its surrounding and be landscape-led taking the slope toward the river into consideration.

“Higher density homes should be down the slope in the central band.”

Julie Broere, senior planning officer at Chelmsford City Council, said: “We feel what they are showing is appropriate, the starting point is two storeys which is the site policy requirement.

“They are showing areas in which there could be potential for greater height.

“It doesn’t mean that whole block is going to be two half or three storeys.

“It is identifying areas where character and place could be created by the use of scale.”

The increase in the number of homes and density of the development is not likely to come with any significant infrastructure, the meeting heard.

Councillor Wendy Daden (Ind, Broomfield and The Walthams) said: “Residents have long protested the infrastructure to accommodate the amount of growth that government enforces on Chelmsford is just not there.

“And we did plan for 250 dwellings. If the site is increased by 36 per cent to make the 340 what will the public get?

“How many extra homes will be available for social housing for that purpose?

“This is not the first site we have increased beyond the current local plan.

“If every sites has a mild increase of 30 per cent, Chelmsford’s natural growth is going to be a lot greater over 20 years than if we stick rigidly to what we had planned.”

Jeremy Potter, special planning manager, added: “Our housing need in the local plan is a minimum requirement. National planning policy says we should be significantly boosting housing.

“What we have found is that as many sites that come forward that have a few more, there are sites that don’t come forward or are delayed.

“And therefore having that bit of buffer means we have not been over supplied with housing.

“We have been meeting our targets.”


Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter