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Our Chelmsford, Our Plan sets out vision for district

Chelmsford City Council has published a new strategy for the district, setting out its priorities for the next few years. Our Chelmsford, Our Plan 2024 is a blueprint intended to help the council create a fairer, greener and more connected community. It builds on ideas introduced in the council’s plan of 2019 which aim to shape Chelmsford as a leading place in the East of England.

Councils create corporate plans so that everyone can understand the organisation’s key values. The plan will inform decisions made right across council services, from kerbside recycling to cultural venues. There were many unexpected challenges over the course of the earlier plan, including the Covid-19 pandemic and record inflation. This new phase aims to extend existing policies, developing the council’s guiding principles in a way that’s right for 2024 and beyond. So, a new ‘Thriving Places’ Index will now measure the wellbeing of people, places and the environment, to ensure the right choices are made at every level for Chelmsford to be a flourishing district.

A fairer and more inclusive place

Chelmsford along with many places in Britain, faces a housing and homelessness crisis and creating a fairer and more inclusive place is one of the plan’s main priorities. A key ambition is to provide more homes of all types and tenures alongside sustainable and responsible growth which delivers social, community and environmental benefits over time. Improving income equality by promoting the district as a place for business investment and encouraging the creation of a wide range of jobs is another essential aspect of the ‘fairer’ section of the plan.

Key outcomes will include:

  • A Local Plan Review adopted in 2026 and its housing delivery targets achieved.
  • Increased supply and improved mix of affordable housing.
  • An increase in the proportion of jobs based in and around Chelmsford.
  • The district to remain attractive to new businesses, particularly in the technology and innovation sectors.
  • Key infrastructure delivered to support the development of Chelmer Waterside and other strategic growth sites.
  • New cemetery and modern crematorium constructed and in operation.

A greener and safer place

The second pillar of the plan is to ensure that the district is a greener and safer place, continuing work already underway as part of the council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency action plan. Lowering energy consumption and reducing waste for both the council and the district as a whole is a central pledge, along with improving the quality, accessibility and safety of green areas and public spaces.

Key outcomes for this section of the plan will include:

  • The council’s own operations and activities to be net zero by 2030.
  • A significant increase in woodland and tree cover with a target to plant at least 192,000 additional trees by 2030 (one for every Chelmsford resident).
  • A significant reduction in waste generated in the district.
  • A biodiversity net gain of at least 10% achieved in new developments.
  • City centre public realm enhancements implemented at Market Square and the High Street from Half Moon Square to Stone Bridge.
  • Establishing continuous natural green wedges and wildlife corridors from the city centre up to the Walthams and east along the River Chelmer.

A more connected place

The third part of this vision is to increase efforts to make Chelmsford a more connected place, with a thriving network of community facilities and an ambitious cultural scene. Effective partnerships are a crucial element here, bringing people together to enable healthy, active and socially connected lives, with inspiration and enrichment from creative and cultural events. A sense of community involvement and pride in Chelmsford as a great place to live, work and study is a core element, which will only be achieved by working closely with others.

Key outcomes for a more connected place will include:

  • More visitors to culture, sports and leisure facilities, activities and events.
  • A network of sports and recreation spaces, community facilities and creative hubs which are extensively used, and new facilities located to meet the needs of growing communities.
  • Play areas and informal recreation spaces integrated into all new developments.
  • A comprehensive ‘Livewell’ programme in place to improve the health and wellbeing of residents.
  • More community involvement and volunteering.
  • Improved scores for ‘people and community’ and ‘mental and physical health' in the new ‘Thriving Places Index.

Chelmsford City Council’s Leader, Councillor Stephen Robinson, says the new plan is designed to unite everyone in Chelmsford to shape the next phase of the city’s life.

“Creating a new version of ‘Our Chelmsford, Our Plan’ gives us a real sense of purpose and helps us to put the needs and aspirations of the people we serve at the heart of every decision we make.

"Although we have created this document, its ambitions to make the district fairer, greener, and more connected will only be realised by working with our partners, our networks and our communities. I hope everyone who cares about Chelmsford will feel that this plan allows them to play a part in shaping our future.”

Cllr Stephen Robinson, Leader, Chelmsford City Council

Find ‘Our Chelmsford, Our Plan’ on the council’s website

A summary of the new plan can be found on the Chelmsford City Council website: https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/your-council/our-chelmsford-our-plan/

An interactive PDF version is also available: https://www.flipsnack.com/8D5CABDD75E/our-chelmsford-our-plan-2023/full-view.html

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Julie Weight
Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at julie.weight@chelmsford.gov.uk or on 01245 606984.