Two new community councils to be created in Chelmsford
New local councils for some Chelmsford neighbourhoods are to be created, following a comprehensive review and consultation by the City Council. These two, significant changes reflects the major housing development north and east of the Broomfield, Springfield and Little Waltham areas.
These new changes follows the approval of the Final Recommendations of the Community Governance Review at a special Full Council meeting on 22 March. As well as these new community councils, there will be some other minor changes to many of the existing parish or village councils around Chelmsford. These changes will take effect just before the May 2023 elections.
The two new community councils
Chelmer Village (including Chancellor Park) is currently part of Springfield Parish Council. From 2023, it will have its own village council.
The Chelmsford Garden Community area includes all the areas north of Springfield where major housing development is taking place (including Beaulieu and Channels). At the moment, the Garden Community area is divided between Springfield, Broomfield, Little Waltham and Boreham parishes. This decision will create a single, very local voice for this new and fast-growing community.
What is a Community Governance Review?
Since January 2021, the City Council has been reviewing the set-up of parishes across Chelmsford. This is called a Community Governance Review (CGR). It is considered good practice to carry one out every ten to fifteen years and, with Chelmsford’s housing growth, this was long overdue.
Residents were asked to give their feedback to enable draft recommendations to be prepared and over 1000 people responded. The council then consulted on the draft recommendations, and 479 further responses were received by the City Council both online and through mail. A Final Recommendations report was drafted based on these responses. The report went through several review processes before being presented at the Full Council.
"Parish or community councils can provide a strong, very local voice for our neighbourhoods. It is important that their setup is reviewed from time to time, to ensure they cover the right areas with the right structure, and that’s what this review has done.City Council Leader Stephen Robinson
However, to be really effective, they need input from residents of the area. So I encourage everyone to contact their parish or community council to raise the really local issues, and consider standing for election to the councils in May 2023."
Other changes in the Chelmsford area
Aside from the creation of new parishes, there are other less substantial changes in the Final Recommendations report, such as adjustments of parish and parish ward boundaries and numbers of parish councillors.
Here is the list of affected parishes and the changes that will be implemented. Parishes that are not mentioned in the list will not have any changes made.
- Boreham: Boundary adjustments (relating to new parish)
- Broomfield: Boundary adjustments (Petty Croft and relating to new parish)
- Danbury: Number of councillors to be reduced from 15 to 12
- Galleywood: Parish wards to be removed; A total of 9 parish councillors
- Great and Little Leighs: Number of councillors to be increased from 9 to 10
- Great Baddow: Some boundaries will be adjusted (Petrel Way, Regal Close, Baddow Road); Number of councillors to be increased to 15 across 3 wards
- Little Waltham: Boundary adjustments (Petty Croft and relating to new parish); Number of councillors to be reduced from 9 to 7
- Margaretting: Number of councillors to be reduced from 9 to 7
- Roxwell: Number of councillors to be reduced from 9 to 7
- Runwell: New parish ward to be created for St Luke’s; Number of councillors will remain at 13 in total across 3 wards
- Sandon: Number of councillors to be increased from 7 to 8
- Springfield: Adjusted boundaries (relating to new parishes); Number of councillors reduced to 13
- West Hanningfield: Number of councillors to be reduced from 9 to 8
- Writtle: Parish wards to be removed; A total of 15 parish councillors
What happens next
Now that the Final Recommendations have been approved, this is what happens next:
- A “Legal Order” will be made to implement these changes.
- The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) will be asked to make consequential amendments. The LGBCE is the body responsible for City and County ward boundaries.
- A review of polling districts and polling places will be done by the Electoral Services team to ensure new or amended parish boundaries aligns with electoral amendments.
- Changes to parish boundaries will then take effect from the May 2023 elections onwards.
- Appropriate transfer of assets between affected parishes will be arranged as necessary.
A full report of the changes being made, including maps, can be found on the Chelmsford City Council website.