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Chelmsford City Council reviews Local Plan to address climate and affordable housing crises

Chelmsford City Council has now started to review its Local Plan, to take account of changes in City Council priorities and Government policies. This will affect how the city will grow up to 2041 and the City Council is keen to involve local people in shaping the city’s future. 

This is all set out in a report to the Chelmsford Policy Board on 14 July 2022. The council is proposing a new strategic vision, to guide Chelmsford’s growth to be a greener, fairer and more connected community. 

Local Plans must be reviewed every five years

The council must produce a Local Plan or else decisions about development are left in the hands of the Government and developers. The Government requires all councils to review their Local Plan every five years. As Chelmsford City Council adopted its Local Plan in May 2020, the council must review it by May 2025 and that needs to start now, to properly involve the community.  

To address changes in council and government policy, growing population and other issues including the climate crisis, the review extends the document to 2041. When extending the framework by five years, the council has to take into account rising population and growth in the city, so must recalculate housing demand. This affects how and where development should go. 

Your feedback will guide the Local Plan

The Local Plan allows local decision-making on how to meet a community’s economic, environmental, housing and social needs. Following consultation in 2015 to 2018, the Council adopted the Local Plan 2013-2036 in May 2020. 

The council will be consulting with you on the review, and it is very important that you take part.  

Looking ahead, the council has developed five broad approaches to address the city’s growth. Feedback from residents will guide the council on which approach the council should adopt or adopt a mix of approaches. 

Local Plan review consultation begins in August

At this early stage, the consultation document does not present updated policy or specific site allocations for housing or other uses. This will follow further work, feedback from this consultation and evidence gathering, and will be presented in the next stage which covers the preferred options. Throughout the document residents are asked questions to help capture views.

“Population and housing growth is inevitable,” said Cllr. Stephen Robinson, leader of Chelmsford City Council. “It is vital that we guide that growth to address the climate and ecological emergency and the housing affordability crisis, and deliver the infrastructure and services we need to be a more connected community. 

“We need you to help us make the important decisions and shape our future community,” emphasised Cllr. Robinson. 

“We will be starting the formal consultation on 11 August, and it will run for eight weeks to give people time to take part.  

“There are five broad approaches to allocating growth around the district and no decisions have been made about any of this. The Local Plan review is an open consultation, and I really urge all residents to take part. 

“We will ensure there will be lots of opportunities for you to get involved.  You can listen online when the review is discussed at the Chelmsford Policy Board on 14 July, and we’ll regularly remind you about it on social media. Don’t forget, you can read all the documents on the council website.” 

More details about the consultation soon

We’ll have an update on the Local Plan review consultation soon and we’ll be streaming the council’s policy board meeting on 14 July. 

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Charlotte Maltby
Charlotte Maltby

Charlotte writes about the environment, parks, recycling, business, planning, public realm and democratic services.