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Your opportunity to shape Chelmsford’s future growth

How do you want Chelmsford to look in twenty years’ time?

A consultation has started for Chelmsford City Council to update its Local Plan. When the revised plan is adopted in 2025/26, it will allocate land for housing, jobs, and community facilities until 2041. We want you to be a part of this process.

The government requires all councils to review their Local Plan every five years to see if it needs updating. This is what is happening now.

This review will ensure the Local Plan meets key council objectives: acting on the climate emergency, responding to the housing affordability crisis, building new infrastructure, and strengthening community ties.

The plan period extends to 2041 to make sure the council is planning for the future needs of local communities. The review does not propose to fundamentally change the general approach in the adopted Local Plan but seeks to improve it to address major challenges and take on board updated information.

Why we have a Local Plan

We need a Local Plan to ensure future growth happens sustainably and development is properly planned. The plan must meet local development needs as well as listen to the views of local people on how they want Chelmsford to look in future years.

Having a clear and up-to-date plan for managing growth makes sure Chelmsford remains a vibrant and attractive place to live, work, socialise and study.

This is the second stage of a consultation on the draft Local Plan, or ‘Preferred Options’. There will be a third round of consultation in early 2025 which will be informed by responses to this consultation.

The Local Plan affects every resident of Chelmsford. It sets out how Chelmsford will grow, where businesses and homes will be located, and how we will protect our green environment and heritage.

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Providing homes for future generations

The population is expected to grow by around 11% between 2021 and 2041. Government forecasts predict that around 1,000 new homes are needed in Chelmsford every year.

The Local Plan is important for all ages to get involved with as we have to make sure there are enough homes for everyone. The children of today will need homes of their own in the future.

Aerial View Of Chelmsford Landscape

Creating jobs, open spaces and community facilities

But the Local Plan isn't just about increasing the number of residential properties; it also highlights that we need to build communities with infrastructure and jobs nearby. There must be opportunities for employment and education. Plus, we need open green spaces that benefit our health and provide habitats for pollinators.

We want to make sure we cover the right issues and that all the suitable options for accommodating change are considered. The Preferred Options document is a full draft local plan, and includes the following key changes to the adopted Local Plan:

  • Updated draft strategic priorities which set the overall policy direction for the Local Plan including new priorities for addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency and for promoting smart, active travel and sustainable transport.

  • New draft vision ‘Guiding Chelmsford’s growth towards a greener, fairer and more connected community’ to reflect the new local priorities within the council’s strategy - Our Chelmsford, Our Plan (chelmsford.gov.uk/ourplan).

  • Updated requirements for the amount of future development needed, including for homes and employment, and a draft Spatial Strategy, including new site allocations for accommodating this future development to 2041 and beyond.

  • Reviewed planning policies which mean the plan does more:
    • To tackle our climate crisis through requiring zero carbon developments, maximising opportunities for active and sustainable travel, requiring new tree planting, increasing biodiversity and improving water efficiency​.
    • To tackle our housing crisis by providing for 1000s of new homes of different sizes and types including 1000s of more genuinely affordable homes​.
    • Our economy and job creation through allocating significant new land for employment and requiring that local people are supported in accessing the new jobs.​
    • For placemaking with a greater focus on ensuring buildings and places are well-designed where people enjoy living and working.
    • For enhancing health and wellbeing and tackling health inequalities through promoting active lifestyles, by providing new spaces for play, recreation and sports and ensuring that new development is well served by infrastructure, services and facilities.

“Chelmsford City Council must address the climate & ecological emergency, the housing crisis and the need to create a more connected community. This review will ensure genuinely affordable homes, places which are easily accessible (promoting walking, cycling and public transport), and ensuring jobs for residents. The Preferred Options document sets out how to do more for our economy and job creation by proposing significant new land for employment and supporting local people to access the new jobs.

“As Chelmsford continues to develop, it is vital that we also tackle the consequences of climate change and reduce our impact on the planet. The Preferred Options document focuses on integrating sustainable measures, including the requirement for zero carbon developments, new tree planting and expanding natural habitats and biodiversity.

“The proposed changes to the Local Plan will give opportunities for making better provision for our communities and building stronger, more connected neighbourhoods. Such measures will further develop a sense of pride and deliver local facilities and services to support our communities.”

“The council wants input from residents to help shape the city for current and future generations and to guide how to address these priorities. This is your opportunity to influence the future of your city, so it’s really important that you do have your say. There are many ways you can get involved, so do please take part in this consultation.”

Cllr Stephen Robinson, Leader, Chelmsford City Council
Local Plan 2024 Online Exhibition

Consultation starts Wednesday 8 May – your time to get involved

Starting Wednesday 8 May, you can have your say as the council starts its next round of public consultation on the draft Local Plan.

The consultation on the Preferred Options document and Integrated Assessment document runs for six weeks until 4pm on Wednesday 19 June 2024.

Where you can view Local Plan documents


You can view the consultation documents and make comments on the council’s planning policy consultation portal www.chelmsford.gov.uk/planningpolicyconsult.

They will also be available to read during normal opening hours at the council’s Customer Service Centre at the Civic Centre, Duke Street, Chelmsford.

In person

We will also be holding in-person exhibitions at the Civic Centre. These exhibitions will provide an opportunity for you to find out more and discuss the consultation with a planning officer.

Exhibition dates are:

  • Thursday 16 May 2024 6pm – 8pm
  • Friday 17 May 2024 1pm – 3pm
  • Saturday 18 May 2024 10am – 12pm
  • Thursday 13 June 2024 6pm – 8pm
  • Friday 14 June 2024 1pm – 3pm
  • Saturday 15 June 2024 10am – 12pm (with British Sign Language interpreter available)

Further exhibitions will be on display as follows. These will not be staffed.

Monday 20 May to Friday 24 May

High Chelmer Shopping Centre, 15a Exchange Way, Chelmsford, CM1 1XB

7am – 6.30pm

Thursday 30 May Friday 31 May Monday 3 June to Friday 7 June Monday 10 June Tuesday 11 June

South Woodham Town Council, Champions Manor Hall, Hullbridge Road, SWF

9am – 4pm

How to respond with your views

Next Steps

All comments will be used to inform the next stage of the process, the Pre-Submission Local Plan. We plan to consult on this in 2025.

Neighbourhood Plan consultations

We are also consulting on two Neighbourhood Plans. These have been developed by Broomfield and Danbury Parish Councils and cover a wide range of issues such as landscape, transport, recreation, heritage, building design, and business. When they are adopted, both Neighbourhood Plans will become part of the Local Plan and will be used for planning decision making.

You can view and comment on the Neighbourhood Plans on the consultation portal. They are labelled on the portal:
4. Broomfield Neighbourhood Plan
5. Danbury Neighbourhood Plan

You can also read more about the Neighbourhood Plans.


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