Residents to have social infrastructure stake in Chelmsford’s massive new development

Residents living in a huge garden community in Chelmsford will have a financial stake in social infrastructure as part of an emerging stewardship model.

Chelmsford City Council is in the process of developing a masterplan for the 5,500-home development in north east Chelmsford that will come with around 45,000sq m of high-tech employment space and significant areas of new open space and parkland.

The development aims to meet the needs of a new generation of Chelmsfordians and also support the sustainable growth of England’s newest city.

The entire development of Chelmsford Garden Village – along with the new neighbourhoods of Beaulieu and Channels – will see a total of 10,000 homes.

It will help to deliver a wide range of community facilities including two new primary schools, a secondary school, a mixture of housing types and open spaces. It will also help provide much needed infrastructure to support the future growth of Chelmsford.

As part of the land deal,  Jeremy Potter,  the city council’s spatial planning manager, said that developers will be expected to contribute around £46,000 for each home in S106 and Community Infrastructure Levy to pay for infrastructure.

But he added that residents will also have a stake in the value of social community aspects of the development.

Mr Potter said: “There are all sorts of social community aspects with that land value capture – new schools and community centres, all the things you would expect to see.

“In the future they will be much more governed by stewardship models in which the residents will have a stake in those and the ability for assets to be a rolling investment and create opportunity for that investment to get ploughed back into the community to ensure the quality is maintained for future generations

“That stewardship model has not been defined but that is very much part of the masterplan  process.”

He also agreed that connection to the city and beyond by sustainable green infrastructure was important in response to a point raised by Councillor Wendy Daden.

Cllr Daden said: “Unless we get cycle routes from A to B  and some super cycle highways it’s not going to be a green choice”.

Mr Potter added: “Cllr Daden’s points are critical. To get the connectivity around the outside as well as within  – the site is very large  and there will be great connectivity within it but it’s the connectivity on the boundaries which is going to be  really important.”

A stakeholder workshop and exhibition for  the development is expected in around spring 2021, whereas a first draft of the masterplan is expected in the autumn.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter