Borough Lib Dems give thumbs down to Tory development plans

December 19, 2005 11:17 PM
Bulldozers on green fields

Do we want bulldozers on green fields?

Lib Dems on the Borough Council have criticised Tory plans to add 14,000 new homes round the edges of the town - in Beaulieu Park, New Hall and Broomfield. Lib Dem leader Cllr. Chris Rycroft said, "These plans don't properly address the problems an expansion of this magnitude would have on town services and would fundamentally alter the character of the town's periphery."

East of Chelmsford option

East of Chelmsford option

She went on, "Chelmsford has been told it must find land for 14,000 dwellings up to 2021 by the Government. We think 14,000 is too many and the Council should be challenging this number and not just accepting it. Even Essex County Council, in its submission to the current Public Inquiry for the East of England plan, is saying that the number of new dwellings for Chelmsford should be reduced to 12,500. Whatever the outcome of the Inquiry we will have to sustain a high number of dwellings and we must ensure that the infrastructure is in place to cope. The only realistic way for this to be achieved is by the developers providing the required facilities. It is therefore crucial that the development is sited so that this happens."

"The core strategy concentrates on the new road infrastructure. We firmly believe that new developments should be in reach of public transport, ideally not more than 800 metres from a station or high capacity bus service route or interchange. The quality and quantity of public transport must be considerably enhanced so that the occupiers of the new dwellings will find it attractive and efficient to use. Any new development must provide an improved public transport infrastructure and additional Park & Ride. This would also have the effect of alleviating congestion in the town."

"At present there is a dire lack of secondary school places to the east of Chelmsford and many children have to travel across town to schools in other areas. Not only is this creating extra journeys, it affects a child's ability to take part in extra curricular activities if they have to catch a school bus."

"The preferred option splits the development between North East and North West and thus fails to reach the criteria for a new secondary school to serve all settlements east of Chelmsford. It will just be a peripheral sprawl, probably surrounding one of the most historically valuable Grade I listed buildings in the area. Depending on where the new station is sited it could well generate many car journeys to the station. This option which splits the development between two areas has the effect of watering down the infrastructure achievable by developer funding."

"It is not desirable to have a road across the Chelmer Valley. However the need to have a route to serve the hospital, other than through the village of Broomfield, is recognised. We feel that any route across the valley should be restricted for public transport, emergency services, bicycles and hospital vehicles only and that it should be stringently protected from any development along its route."

"We feel that the requirement for key worker accommodation for Broomfield hospital could be reasonably achieved by commuted sums from all developments. If there were public transport across the valley, it need not be sited adjacent to the hospital. Some of the potential sites for development north west - said to be necessary for hospital workers - would necessitate car journeys the hospital."

"Option 2 would deliver the secondary school and the station but would still create a peripheral sprawl around New Hall. It would also generate car journeys to the station. It is the least damaging of the three options offered as the concentration of development is more likely to deliver the public transport infrastructure requirements."

Other Areas under threat in the Tory Options

Other areas underthreat from Tory options

"Option 3 is not really desirable at all as it would change the character of many villages without contributing much to their infrastructure. It is also unlikely to bring any improvements in public transport. However we do think that permission should be given for small numbers of affordable dwellings in villages needed to satisfy local community needs."

"We still believe that the best option for large scale development is the area north of Boreham. It will deliver the secondary school and the station and will probably create a new community with its own centre. A green wedge can be created and retained between Springfield and the new settlement."

"The new dwellings will mean a larger population. Chelmsford already has a huge number of daily commuters to London. Efforts must be made to attract a great deal of new employment to Chelmsford to reduce that number instead of increasing it."

"We welcome the core policies relating to the environment, particularly CP 6, and 10 to 14. We also fully support the requirement of 35% affordable housing on developments of 15 or more dwellings. Safeguards should be put in place to stop piecemeal development of land in order to avoid the required provision of affordable housing."

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