Chelmsford City Council’s Local Plan issues and options consultation

Chelmsford City Council have embarked on the first stage of public consultation for their new Local Plan, which will provide a planning strategy for Chelmsford up to 2036.

The document they are consulting on is snappily titled: The Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation Document and this will be open for public consultation from 19 November 2015, to 21 January 2016.

This sets out the planning issues that the council anticipate will face Chelmsford over the next 20 years and seeks to identify how to address these. The council are seeking public opinion on every aspect of the document, for example, how future development could be distributed.

What stage is Chelmsford at?

Chelmsford City Council has already undertaken research to create an evidence base from which decisions about the future of Chelmsford will be explored. The following stages were undertaken as part of this evidence collation:

  • Call for Sites: Developers, landowners and the general public were encouraged to present their sites for inclusion within the local plan. It is still possible to submit sites for inclusion.
  • SLAA (Strategic Land Availability Assessment): This forms the technical response and assessment to sites that the council are aware of, including those identified in the ‘call for sites’.
  • SHMA (Strategic Housing Market Assessment): This provides a review of Chelmsford’s current and future housing requirements in terms of tenure and type. As part of this process an Objectively Assessed Housing Study has been undertaken which concludes that Chelmsford should aim to deliver 775 homes per year to meet its housing need.

Key points from the consultation document for developers:

The key headline issues, subject to consultation, in the Issues and Options document include:

  • The objectively assessed housing need is for 775 homes per year to 2036, but the Council are testing 930 homes per year or 14,000 homes over the new plan period to take account of affordable housing delivery.
  • The Council do not intend to undertake a strategic review of the Green Belt. They also intend to designate a series of Green Buffers on land at the edge of some villages.
  • The Council are planning for approximately 900 jobs per year in the plan period. New employment sites will be allocated to meet this requirement including 50,000 sq m of new office floorspace.
  • In terms of retail development, an initial figure of 1,900 sq m and 11,500 sq m of new retail floorspace at South Woodham Ferrers and the Chelmsford Urban Area respectively are being tested.

The Council has identified three spatial options to accommodate this future growth:

  1. Urban Focus – This option seeks to concentrate new development at locations within and/or close to the existing urban areas that are within Chelmsford.
  2. Urban Focus and Growth on Key Transport Corridors – In addition to ‘Urban Focus’ this option also promotes development at locations on the key transport corridors serving the district.
  3. Urban Focus and Growth in Key Villages – This option promotes a more dispersed approach to planning for new development with planned development at the Service Settlements outside of the Green Belt, in addition to urban focused development.

How do Plainview Planning add value:

Plainview Planning specialise in promoting land into Local Plans.  There will be opportunities to put sites forward as site allocations throughout the local plan consultation process and it is always better to become involved as early as possible.

When promoting sites for potential inclusion as a site allocation, the key to success will be to demonstrate that the site constitutes sustainable development and supports the development needs of an area.

Plainview Planning add value by:

  • assessing the credentials of your site in line with emerging local policy and established national policy;
  • coordinating your promotion efforts to make sure that the Council is provided with persuasive documentation about your site;
  • we ensure that the right groups are lobbied at the right time to maximise chances of inclusion;
  • we monitor the status of Local Development Frameworks throughout the country and are well placed to guide you through the administrative and political process;
  • we can provide professional expertise and funding to effectively promote your land and our services can be provided on a joint-venture basis.

Our experience with land promotion projects is wide ranging and we have worked on many schemes including large sites in Maldon, Halstead and Dover:

If you have land you feel may be suitable for development and would like to explore how best to move forward in achieving planning permissions on site then contact our land promotion team via