Our new Local Plan will help shape future growth and development in Chelmsford until 2036.

Chelmsford Garden Community is part of our new Local Plan. The site will create a community of around 10,000 new homes and include new employment opportunities in north-east Chelmsford.

The Garden Community will build on the success of the recent Beaulieu and Channels developments, which were part of our Local Development Framework. 

Beaulieu and Channels have already delivered a neighbourhood centre and linear park. It also has Essex’s first all-through school for 5-18 years and the Beaulieu express bus service into the city centre.

 In addition to new homes, Chelmsford Garden Community will also include:

  • 45,000 sqm of employment floorspace
  • a new country park
  • walking and cycling routes
  • expansion of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  • part of the Chelmsford North East Bypass
  • a new Radial Distributor Road (RDR2)
  • neighbourhood centres with community spaces
  • a second new secondary school
  • two further new primary schools
  • early years and childcare nursery provision
  • new multi-functional green infrastructure
  • nine travelling showpeople plots

 Chelmsford Garden Community is a joint project between:

  • Countryside L&Q
  • Ptarmigan Land
  • Halley Developments/Greycoat Real Estate

You can also download the factsheet or visit the Chelmsford Garden Community website.

The Developer Consortium submitted their masterplan (Development Framework Document, or DFD) for consultation in 2022. The consortium comprises Countryside, L&Q, Ptarmigan Land and Halley Developments, working in partnership with Chelmsford City Council and Essex County Council.

Following consultation and subsequent changes, they presented the DFD to the Chelmsford Policy Board on 19 December 2022. The Board recommended that, subject to some focused changes, the Council’s Cabinet agree the DFD.

The Cabinet agreed the DFD at the Cabinet meeting on 24 January 2023, subject to the completion of a legal Planning Framework Agreement.

You can view the Development Framework Document.

The consortium submitted a hybrid planning application (reference 22/01950/OUT and 22/01950/FUL) for Zone 1 of the Chelmsford Garden Community on 20 October 2022.

Zone 1 is being brought forward by Ptarmigan Land and sits on the western side of the wider garden community.

Planning application 

The key elements of the Zone 1 application include:

  • full details of the access from Essex Regiment Way and Belsteads Farm Lane (road to Park Farm)
  • 1,500 new homes
  • a primary school
  • employment areas
  • a mixed-use neighbourhood centre
  • public open space, formal and informal play and recreational areas
  • drainage features
  • details of the initial phase of highway works (i) east-west main street, (ii) north-south main street, (iii) bus gates and (iv) new pedestrian/cyclist bridge over Essex Regiment Way
  • works to reprofile existing ground levels
  • strategic surface water attenuation

The developer submitted further amended documents for this application on 5 January 2024. The consultation period for the amended plans ended in February 2024. We will now review the comments and feedback received and consider the next steps.  

Zone 2 sits on the western side of the garden community and is being brought forward by developer Countryside L&Q (North-East Chelmsford) LLP. Zone 2 of the Chelmsford Garden Community is located on the eastern side of the wider community.

The developer submitted an outline planning application with all matters reserved expect for access in October 2023. You can view the application on the Planning Portal under reference 23/01751/OUT.

Planning application 

The key elements of the Zone 2 application include:

  • 3,500 new homes
  • three mixed-use neighbourhood centres
  • three school sites comprising two standalone primary schools and an all-through school
  • Willow Hill employment hub
  • a Travelling Showpeople site
  • a care home
  • Dukes Wood nature park including open space, landscaping, formal sports pitches and pavilion
  • public open space, formal and informal play and recreational areas
  • two active travel bridge connections over the future Chelmsford North East Bypass
  • an access junction from Beaulieu Parkway
  • site restoration and preparation works

The consultation period for the submitted plans ended in January 2024. We are now reviewing the comments and feedback we received and considering the next steps. 

Zone 3 of the Chelmsford Garden Community is located in the north-west corner of the wider community.

The consortium submitted a hybrid planning application (reference 23/00124/OUT and 23/00124/FUL) for this zone on 23 January 2023.

Planning application 

The key elements of the Zone 3 application are:

  • 1,250 new homes
  • Discovery Park North including open space, landscaping, formal sports pitches, pavilion and associated car parking
  • internal roads, footways and cycleways and pedestrian routes
  • landscaping and green infrastructure
  • details of a north-south spine road with footpath/cyclepath linking to the Northern RDR
  • details of an east-west spine road to Great Belsteads Village Centre
  • drainage and sustainable urban drainage systems
  • associated engineering works including works to re-profile existing ground levels

The developer submitted amended documents for this application on 15 September 2023. The consultation period for the amended plans ended in November 2023. We will now review the comments and feedback and consider the next steps.

Site preparation works (autumn 2023)

Halley (the zone 3 developers) started site preparation works in late August 2023. This  project includes three different streams of work.

Delta Simons carried out borehole testing on the soil for a month from late August to late September 2023.

Both SES (the zone 3 ecologists) and Turner and Townsend (the project managers) will be managing a contractor. This contractor will be doing some local hedgerow clearance and ecological mitigation works. These works started in October 2023, to avoid bird nesting season. This followed approval from our ecologists, as well as the Forestry Commission, who need to approve tree felling licenses.

ASE are carrying out extensive archaeology excavation on site, following agreement with ECC on a written scheme of investigation and associated mitigation strategy. The works are to collect, analyse and record the archaeology finds identified when trial trenching took place in summer 2022. These works started in early September 2023 and will be ongoing for around 12 months, weather dependent.

The northern radial distributor is located to the north of the development. It runs across the full width of the Chelmsford Garden Community, crossing all three development zones. It links Essex Regiment Way in the east with the proposed Chelmsford North East Bypass to the west.

A planning application (23/00114/FUL) for the road was submitted on the 23 January 2023 with the following description:

"Detailed planning application to provide Northern Radial Distributor Road (NRDR) from Wheelers Hill to the North East Chelmsford Bypass, respectively west to east, as part of the Chelmsford Garden Community. Development, which will include carriageways, footways, cycleways, crossings and the diversion of Wheelers Hill Road. Landscaping and drainage for NRDR with all associated engineering works including strategic ground re-profiling."

The developer submitted amended documents for this application on 22 September 2023. The consultation period for the amended plans ended in November 2023. We will now review the comments and feedback and consider the next steps.

Domsey Lane is referenced as a Character Area within the Chelmsford Garden Community Development Framework Document.

The Character Area shows how the masterplan will minimise the impact of development on existing residents and the character of the lane, whilst still creating links between the Garden Community either side of the lane.

You can download:

Chelmsford Garden Community will meet the Garden City Principles, set out by Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). These include:

  • land value capture for the benefit of the community
  • strong vision, leadership and community engagement
  • community ownership of land and long-term stewardship of assets
  • mixed-tenure homes and housing types that are genuinely affordable
  • a wide range of local jobs within easy commuting distance of homes
  • beautifully and imaginatively-designed homes with gardens, combining the best of town and country to create healthy communities, and including opportunities to grow food
  • development that enhances the natural environment, providing a comprehensive green infrastructure network and net biodiversity gains, and that uses zero-carbon and energy-positive technology to ensure climate resilience
  • strong cultural, recreational and shopping facilities in walkable, vibrant and sociable neighbourhoods
  • integrated and accessible transport systems, with walking, cycling and public transport designed to be the most attractive forms of local transport

The community liaison group will give local interest groups regular updates on the progress of the project.

The liaison group will co-ordinate engagement in the project so that you can have your say as the project develops over the next 20 years. Membership of the group includes:

  • elected city councillors
  • Essex County Council
  • Developer Consortium
  • local ward members
  • parish council representatives
  • Channels Resident Association
  • Chelmsford Cycling Action Group
  • Essex Bridleway Association
  • The Land Trust
  • churches
  • local schools
  • universities

You can read the September 2020 newsletter.

Our officers will meet regularly with the developers to oversee the progress of the masterplan and related applications they need to submit during the project.

They will report the outcomes of these meetings to the delivery board. You can view these in the delivery board section.

You can view the structure chart.

As part of this overall development, there are some other projects going on that support the development.

They are:

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