Local Plan: Preferred Options Consultation

We are reviewing our adopted Local Plan. We are consulting on the Preferred Options stage NOW! The consultation closes at 4pm on Wednesday 19 June 2024. 

We are reviewing our adopted Local Plan and as part of that process, we are consulting on the Preferred Options document until Wednesday 19 June 2024.

You can view our What is a Local Plan? video.

Preferred Options

This is the second stage of consultation. It sets out proposed sites where new homes, jobs and other facilities could be located. It also contains updated and new policies that we would use to decide planning applications.

We are also consulting on the Integrated Impact Assessment, which assesses the Preferred Options against a range of social, environmental and economic indicators.

Have your say

You can view the consultation documents on our specially-designed consultation portal at

We prefer receiving comments through the consultation portal. This ensures we record your comments accurately and can process them quickly. You can also download the consultation documents and sign up for consultation alerts.

When you visit the portal, you will see three consultation "events" that you can take part in:

  1. Preferred Options Consultation Document 2024: click on this event to read and make comments on the document as you go
  2. Preferred Options Questionnaire 2024: click on this event if you have read the consultation document and just want to make your comments in one place
  3. Preferred Options Integrated Impact Assessment 2024: click on this event to view and comment on the supporting Preferred Options Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) (you should not use this to comment on the Preferred Options Consultation Document itself)

Alternatively, you can read the consultation documents. These documents are large in size. You may find it easier to download and view them on a desktop computer, rather than on a smartphone or tablet. 

You can also make comments:

  • by email via planning.policy@chelmsford.gov.uk
  • by post by writing to Spatial Planning Services, Chelmsford City Council, Civic Centre, Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JE

If you are unable to make your comments using the Consultation Portal, you can print a response form.

How to find out more about taking part in the consultation

We have a number of ways you can find out more about this consultation, what it means for you, and how you can get involved.


View our interactive exhibition

You can view our interactive exhibition, which covers the key consultation topics, or download the exhibition panels as a PDF file.

You can also read our:

In person

You can meet our Planning Team in-person at our exhibitions in the Civic Centre. They will be available at the Council Chamber on:

  • Thursday 16 May, 6pm to 8pm
  • Friday 17 May, 1pm to 3pm
  • Saturday 18 May, 10am to 12 noon
  • Thursday 13 June, 6pm to 8pm
  • Friday 14 June, 1pm to 3pm
  • Saturday 15 June, 10am to 12 noon (this session will also include a British Sign Language interpreter)

You can also visit our non-staffed exhibitions to view our information displays.

You can visit High Chelmer Shopping Centre from Monday 20 May to Friday 24 May, between 7am and 6.30pm.

Alternatively, you can visit the South Woodham Town Council offices, between 9am and 4pm, on:

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

You can also view a paper copy of the consultation documents at our Customer Service Centre during normal opening hours.

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.

City life articles

We adopted our current Local Plan in May 2020. It guides growth and development across Chelmsford City Council's area to 2036. We need to review the plan at least every five years, to see if we need to update it. The review means that the Local Plan will now run until 2041.

Issues and Options (previous stage)

This was the first stage of consultation, which took place in 2022. Many people and organisations commented, and we have carefully considered all the responses, alongside updated evidence, national planning policy, new local priorities, and monitoring data.  

You can read a feedback report which sets out the consultation feedback we received on the Issues and Options consultation and how we have taken the comments into account when preparing the Preferred Options Local Plan.

Preferred Options (current stage)

This consultation is the second formal stage in the preparation of the review plan, and a further opportunity for residents, businesses, developers, and other interested parties to get involved. 

The consultation runs for a period of six weeks from 10am on Wednesday 8 May 2024 to 4pm on Wednesday 19 June 2024.

Pre-Submission (future stage)

Consultation will focus on legal compliance and consistency with national planning policy.

Submission (future stage)

This is the formal Submission of the Local Plan. We will submit all plan documents, evidence, and comments to the Planning Inspector for an Independent Examination.

We will continue to assess the Local Plan as we review it, to make sure it contributes towards sustainability. We will assess the following aspects of sustainable development:

  • Sustainability Appraisal
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment
  • Health Impact Assessment
  • Equality Impact Assessment

The IIA assesses the issues and options against a range of social, environmental and economic indicators and helps to identify all the likely significant effects. The IIA advises on ways in which any adverse effects could be avoided, reduced or mitigated or how any positive effects could be maximised. This helps to ensure that the emerging policies, plans and allocations in the Local Plan are promoting sustainable development.

We use the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) to assess sites nominated by landowners, promoters and developers. This helps us when researching and developing future Local Plans.

The SHELAA 2023/2024 is our latest published assessment. This assesses the sites put forward to us for consideration as part of the Local Plan Review. You can view the outcomes of that assessment.

The SHELAA is open all year round, meaning you can submit a new site or amend an existing site on a rolling basis. We aim to assess submissions yearly, so a cut-off point for submissions usually falls on 31 December of any given year.

You can submit a site for future assessment, or amend an already submitted site, through the current SHELAA facility. 

You can find out more about how to submit or amend a site, and see the latest assessment outcomes.

We are developing a range of new and updated evidence to support the Local Plan review. We will publish the evidence base here as we develop it. You can search by name and/or category.

If you search by name or reference number, you can do this with or without choosing the category.

Alternatively, you can list all the documents in a category by choosing the category from the drop-down list and clicking on search. 

We used several evidence base documents to support the adopted Local Plan. Many of these are still relevant or we will be updating them during the Local Plan review. Although they do not form part of this consultation, you can still view the evidence base for the Adopted Local Plan.

As we are undertaking a plan review, the Preferred Options Consultation Document is an edited and updated version of the existing adopted Chelmsford Local Plan 2020. The consultation document is a full draft plan and presented as a 'clean' version. We have also produced a tracked change version of the consultation document, so it is clear which parts are proposed for change.

You can see a list of all the adopted and proposed allocated sites, with a note of which Policies Map section they are shown on. The Policies Maps are included at Section 11 of the Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation Document.

Topic papers

We have produced several Topic Papers to set out how the review of the Local Plan has been developed. We will refresh and update them at each stage of the review process to ensure the latest information/position is available.

Topic Papers provide background information, but they do not contain any policies, proposals or site allocations. They will form part of the Local Plan evidence base which we will submit alongside the Local Plan for independent examination.

We have a specially designed consultation portal for Local Plan and other planning policy consultations.

If you register, you can:

  • read and save consultation documents
  • make your comments online
  • receive alerts on future consultations

You can find out more about how to use the consultation portal.

We use the Local Development Scheme (LDS) to manage the plan-making process. It sets out our timetable for preparing the documents and for consulting on the Local Plan review.

We first adopted an LDS in 2006 and we have reviewed it regularly as we have made progress on producing our Local Plan.

This LDS is the ninth review. You can download the Chelmsford Local Development Scheme 2023-2028.

You can also download the eighth review of the LDS, which we published in November 2021. You can view the changes we have made since November 2021 in Appendix 1 of the 2023-2028 LDS document.

We are committed to working with other councils and key organisations on planning issues that cross council boundaries.

The organisations we regularly work with include Essex County Council, National Highways, environmental organisations and education providers.

We have to ensure that we properly co-ordinate strategic issues such as:

  • land for new homes and jobs
  • infrastructure
  • providing schools
  • mitigating climate change

We have adopted a Duty to Co-operate Strategy, which sets out who we will co-operate with and when, plus how we will do it.

You can download the Duty to Co-operate Strategy.

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