ABOVE: The design for Tindal Square

Plans for an ambitious project that will pedestrianise and reshape Tindal Square were signed off by Chelmsford City Councillors at the recent Cabinet meeting. 

The redesign, proposed jointly by the city and county councils, will see the High Street extended all the way to the doors of Shire Hall, restoring the Georgian-era layout of the city centre. The historic square will feature seating, new trees and be available as a space for public performances. 

The newly-paved square will become car-free pedestrian priority space which allows for cycles to pass safely between Market Road and New Street. 

The scheme is fully-funded by developers’ contributions and Government funding. It follows an extensive public consultation carried out in Summer 2019. The majority of people who took part showed strong support of the plans. To pedestrianise the square, a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) is needed. This was consulted on in Spring 2021 and was again well-supported. 

Section 106 contributions and Community Infrastructure Levies are paid by developers who build in Chelmsford. They must be used for infrastructure that helps Chelmsford to be a better place to live and to carry the extra numbers of people. That could be by creating jobs, providing outdoor spaces, caring for the environment, creating healthcare facilities and schools, and more. 

The Government funding for this project comes from the Getting Building Fund. The fund is managed by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and a successful bid for the funding was submitted in 2020 by the two councils. 

ABOVE: Tindal Square in 1793

Restoring Shire Hall to its full glory 

Tindal Square lies at the heart of the Chelmsford Central Conservation Area, a part of the city recognised for its historical significance. Sited at the crossroads of five streets, it has been a square since 1199. Shire Hall, a Grade-II*-listed building,  

The councils hope that the scheme will help the city to continue recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. Mike Mackrory, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development at Chelmsford City Council, said, “Although the Tindal Square plans began some years ago, the green light for them could not come at a better time. Our High Street is bustling again, but we want to make the city centre even more attractive and inclusive for visitors and easier to access by bicycle. Linking and making the most of two of our city’s most iconic buildings – Shire Hall and the Cathedral – will be a major breakthrough in doing that.” 

What’s next for Tindal Square? 

The council needs to appoint a contractor to carry out the building work. Once a contract is awarded, a start date can be announced. 

You can find out more about this joint project on the Essex County Council website.

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ABOVE: Aerial visualisation of the square.

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