Chelmsford Local Plan will help City address climate emergency and housing crisis 

May 28, 2020 11:30 PM

CCC local plan logo ()The new Chelmsford Local Plan gives the Council more powers to address the climate emergency and housing crisis, both of which the City Council prioritised after the election in 2019. It was adopted by the City Council on 27th May at a special online meeting. Watch the meeting on YouTube.

Said Lib Dem Leader Stephen Robinson, "We will demand that developers provide for jobs, shops, open space and supporting infrastructure, not just new homes - all met in a sustainable manner.

Under the Conservatives, the council failed to deliver on its general and affordable housing targets in almost every one of their 16 years. The current Council will use the new Plan to deliver genuinely affordable housing.

Plan process and why going ahead

The Plan was written by the Conservatives, they endorsed the final proposed version in June 2018 and it went through 95% of its stages before the May 2019 election. It does contain a couple of large development sites that the Lib Dems opposed at those earlier stages.

If the Lib Dems had a free hand, they would not be there. But the chance to make real changes to this Plan passed a long time ago. The Inspector held the inquiry before the election and found it was sound with those included. So any attempt to remove one or more of those sites would make the plan unsound and non-viable.

The choice on 27th May was extremely simple - either……

  • Reject the Plan and open the door to a developers free for all. No plan means we lose control of our future.
  • Or adopt the Local Plan, take control of where development goes, and influence our future.

Nevertheless, since the May 2019 election, the Liberal Democrat administration has already made a start on changing policies that CAN be changed, within the Local Plan framework.

For example

  • The Making Places Document will ensure that we build real communities not just dormitories.
  • The Developer Contributions Document makes clear the obligations that developers have to undertake, for example 35% affordable housing, and additional community contributions.
  • The Climate and Ecology Action Plan will drive forward the zero-carbon aim. The Local Plan will also implement measures to improve the 'green infrastructure' of Chelmsford, protecting, improving and expanding open spaces, natural habitats and increasing biodiversity.

These would not have been possible without this Local Plan.

The public can now be involved in how development proceeds

Essential to this is the Masterplan process. The Liberal Democrats believe that this a vital stage between agreeing the Local Plan and discussing individual planning applications. There will be a different Masterplan for each major site and the Lib Dems will ensure that residents, local groups and ward councillors are involved in the evolution of the Masterplan for each site, during the consultation stages.

Masterplans establish broad principles. There is a further opportunity for the public to be involved in the detailed planning applications.