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Newly pedestrianised Tindal Square welcomes first public performances

Tindal Square Launch

The newly pedestrianised Tindal Square has hosted its first public performances following the completion of works in the historic space.

A civic launch took place in the square to mark the end of the project. Shoppers, families, and local workers were treated to performances from Indian brass band Bombay Baja, songs from comedy act ‘Team BGee’, and a few surprises from the Bureau of Silly Ideas.

The activities are just the first to take place this summer with a free day of fun – the Tindal Square Summerballoo – planned for 12 August. Other events are also scheduled for the school holidays.

Joint project unites historic space for pedestrians and cyclists

Works to pedestrianise Tindal Square began in 2022. Led by Chelmsford City Council in partnership with Essex County Council, the project was funded by developer contributions (CIL funding) and Government funding via the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

The transformation of the space has united Tindal Square with the Grade II*-listed Shire Hall, creating a new public square at the head of the High Street.

Joining these spaces has produced a modern and accessible square for residents and visitors to enjoy in the civic heart of the city. With new trees and seating, shoppers can rest while enjoying a view of one of Chelmsford’s most historic spaces. It also acts as a safe, uninterrupted route for cyclists to travel through the city centre.

Councillor Ian Fuller, Cabinet Member for a Growing Chelmsford, says the newly pedestrianised space will help residents to appreciate the historic heart of Chelmsford in a brand-new way:

“I’m so proud to see the brilliant end result of this partnership project with Essex County Council, which celebrates the civic heart of Chelmsford. The investment has revitalised the head of the High Street and created a new focal point for one of Chelmsford’s most iconic buildings – Shire Hall.

I’m delighted that the city’s residents and visitors alike will be able to meet up, relax in and appreciate this attractive, safe, and inclusive new space.”

Councillor Ian Fuller, Cabinet Member for a Growing Chelmsford

Leader of Essex County Council, Councillor Kevin Bentley said:

“This is a really exciting time for people that visit or live and work in Chelmsford. The pedestrianisation of this area brings with it a wealth of opportunities for this historic square set the heart of the county.

With our colleagues at Chelmsford City Council we have worked hard to create a vibrant space that can be shared and loved by residents and visitors for many years to come. We have great ambitions for the future of Shire Hall and this marks the start of bringing it back to life.”

Councillor Kevin Bentley, Leader, Essex County Council

Tindal Square to host cultural activities

The newly transformed Tindal Square will act as space for community groups, cultural organisations, charities, and businesses to host events.

It supports Chelmsford’s Cultural Strategy, which aims to put the district on the map as a culturally ambitious place.

A key theme in the strategy is ‘Outstanding Festivals and Events’. The improvement of public spaces such as Tindal Square opens up new opportunities to programme inspiring, high-quality celebrations that embrace all ages and cultural interests and instil a sense of pride and identity in the area.  

The City Council aims to see Tindal Square host such activities in the coming months and years, with a series of events already planned to take place this summer and autumn.

Councillor Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council and Cabinet Member for a Connected Chelmsford looks forward to seeing inspiring events taking place:

“The completion of the Tindal Square improvement scheme has given Chelmsford a magnificent new space that enhances our enjoyment and understanding of this historic area.

I don’t doubt that we’ll see some inspiring and spectacular events taking place in the square over the coming years. These events are just one part of our progressive and ambitious Cultural Strategy, and will contribute to positively transforming creativity in our city. I’m really looking forward to seeing this new space come to life.”

Councillor Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council and Cabinet Member for a Connected Chelmsford

South East LEP Chief Executive Adam Bryan said:

“We are delighted to have supported this scheme and the funding was aimed at projects which would support the post-pandemic economy. Tindal Square is a great example of supporting the rejuvenation of the high street and reimagining the local retail economy, with a place for culture, events and experiences and encouraging visitors to support the city centre.”

Adam Bryan, South East LEP Chief Executive

How to apply to hire Tindal Square

In line with the principles of the Cultural Strategy, events that offer a positive cultural or social impact and enhance the visitor experience will be given priority access to use Tindal Square. Organisations looking to hire Tindal Square can find out more and submit an application via the Chelmsford City Council website.

Free Tindal Square Summerballoo on 12 August

Summerballoo Poster

Next month, Chelmsford’s residents and visitors are invited to a party celebrating the opening of Tindal Square. On Saturday 12 August, the Tindal Square Summerballoo, delivered by Chelmsford City Culture, brings some of the most spectacular street performances to the centre of Chelmsford. Expect silliness, bright colours, energetic sounds, and some very unusual encounters!

The free event will feature family-friendly activities, musicians, interactive installations, and slapstick comedy. Acts include Balloonatics, who make masterpieces from balloons – just challenge them to make whatever you can think of! Dramatic drummers SPARK! bring high impact drumming with dynamic choreography and dazzling costumes, while Titan the Robot delights kids with his comedic abilities.

There’s also a 13ft-high mechanical dragon, acrobatic Firefighters, Houdini-style performances from The Maniax, and a bubbleologist! You’ll also discover vibrant and brilliant local community groups through a selection of creative stalls.

The performers and activities are free to enjoy and entertaining for all ages. Just pop by Tindal Square between 11am and 5pm on 12 August.

Further events to be held in 2023

Other events already scheduled to take place in Tindal Square include Chelmsford For You’s Green City 2023 from 24 to 26 August. The event brings a range of activities designed to raise awareness of more ways to be green. A Fun Day organised by the New Generation Development Agency (NGDA) to mark Black History Month also returns this October. Activities and workshops in Tindal Square will celebrate Chelmsford’s BAME communities.

Sangita Mittra, Managing Director of the New Generation Development Agency (NGDA), says Tindal Square provides a new space in which to celebrate and better represent diverse groups:

“We are currently supporting a group of young people to organise this year’s Black History Month celebrations. Activities will include utilising a vacant retail unit and hosting an event in Tindal Square. Inclusive, affordable and accessible spaces like Tindal Square are vital civic spaces in ensuring Chelmsford’s full diversity has an opportunity to shine.”

Sangita Mittra, Managing Director, New Generation Development Agency (NGDA)

More details of upcoming events will be shared soon. To be the first to hear about what’s planned, follow Chelmsford City Council on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Cherelle Nightingill
Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes about Chelmsford Theatre, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford Museum, the Mayor of Chelmsford and culture and events in the city.