Chelmer Waterside is a large expanse of land to the east of the city centre. It used to be a gas works and some areas are still industrial. For many years, much of this land was inaccessible to the public. But this area faces directly onto three waterways and is less than a five minute walk from the city centre. This makes it a very attractive and sustainable place to build new homes.

The area has the potential to deliver up to 1,100 new homes. It also has the potential to make the best use of the city’s waterways, namely the River Chelmer and the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation. Developers have already completed some housing in the area and are continuing work in this location.

We have allocated the whole of the Chelmer Waterside area for housing-led development in our Local Plan. The next step is to set up a guiding vision to plan out housing growth, while protecting the environment. We want to make sure this is a high-quality new neighbourhood for everyone to enjoy.

Development framework

To achieve this, we have produced a planning framework to show how the remaining land could be developed in a co-ordinated and connected way.

This framework sets the broad parameters of the regeneration and guide future development. It covers  general matters such as layout, scale and character, but also site-specific issues such as interaction with water and integration of existing community uses.

You can download the approved Chelmer Waterside Development Framework.

Consultation and next steps

We are progressing new infrastructure needed to deliver the new homes. This includes a new access road and bridge, relocation of gas mains and some land decontamination. We expect these works to start in 2022.

Future public consultation will take place when we receive developer proposals for the Chelmer Waterside sites. This is likely to be mid-late 2022.

Chelmer Waterside access road and bridge

The new access road and bridge would link Wharf Road and Parkway, alongside the Essex Record Office. It would replace the existing Bailey Bridge, which spans the River Chelmer. 

It will create access to the new housing sites we identified in our Local Plan. It will also provide additional capacity in the road network, which is currently under pressure at the junction of Springfield Road and Navigation Road.

The new single span bridge will be designed to carry pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles accessing the new neighbourhood. Its purpose is for access only, not as a through route. We are proposing a road width restriction and a 20mph speed limit, to ensure the road is only used for access.

A bowstring bridge design is our preferred option. This design will reflect the former industrial heritage of Chelmer Waterside, whilst creating a local landmark and maintaining enjoyment of, and views along, the river.

Its design will ensure there is enough room for boats using the waterways, which is one of our key objectives. It will also connect into the city's cycle network.

We granted planning permission for the new bridge and access road in June 2021. You can view the planning application (reference 21/00024/FUL).

The next stage is for the bridge to go through a detailed design stage, before construction, which should start in 2023.

We are working with Cadent to design and relocate the Gas Pressure Reduction System (GPRS), which is currently located on the old gas works site. This will enable housing delivery on the site.

The proposed new location of the Gas Pressure Reduction System is on land to the south of the active Hill Road Allotments.

Cadent submitted a planning application for this in February 2022, with the reference 22/00239/FUL.

We granted planning permission in May 2022.

Cadent have appointed Morrison Energy Services to carry out the construction works, which should begin in November 2022 and take about 18 months.


Works are now underway, with the following planned programme:

  • Phase 1 (mobilisation and site establishment): November 2022 to April 2023
  • Phase 2 and 3 (GPRS civil work): March 2023 to June 2023
  • Phase 4 (GPRD mechanical work): April 2023 to January 2024
  • Phase 5 (GPRS electrical and instrumentation works): October 2023 to February 2024
  • Phase 6 and 7 (Meadow pipeline operations): December 2023 to April 2024
  • Phase 8 (commissioning): December 2023 to April 2024
  • Phase 9 (Wharf Road governor installation): May 2023 to July 2023
  • Phase 10 (decommissioning old GPRS): April 2024 to May 2024
  • Phase 11 (fence and civil works): January 2024 to March 2024
  • Phase 12 (demobilisation): May 2024 

The key dates for the project are:

  • Construction works in the vicinity allotment: January 2023 to March 2024
  • District Governor Construction works on Wharf Road: May 2023 to July 2023
  • Temporary allotment access arrangements: January 2023 to February 2023
  • Meadow cycle path diversion March 2023 to April 2024
  • Meadow cycle path closure for pipeline pressure testing: December 2023
  • Commission GPRS: December 2023 to April 2024
  • Commission District Governor: July 2023
  • Wharf Road low pressure diversion: April 2023 to December 2023

These dates may be subject to change and we will update these as works progress.

If you have any further queries about the scheme, you can contact the Economic Development Team.

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