Chelmsford council aims to end privatising of public open space

October 22, 2020 1:45 PM

CCC local plan logo ()Many homeowners on new development sites in Chelmsford have been paying high management fees for maintenance of open spaces. They are used by the public but not owned by the public. Now the Lib Dem-led Council is set to overturn the policy.

Said Lib Dem Council Leader Stephen Robinson, "Many residents have said they resent paying high management fees to look after playgrounds and open spaces, because they think that's what their council tax is for. Unfortunately, the previous council didn't want to take responsibility for these and allowed developers to bring in management companies instead.

"As a result, Chelmsford City Council has had many complaints about lack of grounds maintenance on sites such as Channels, north east of Chelmsford. This is effectively privatising public open space and needs to stop. It's taken a while to draft a new policy but now it is ready for consultation."

So, the City Council is consulting on a change to policy, which should lead to more open space coming under the management of Chelmsford City Council in future, not private companies. The Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) says that, in future, the Council expects developers to hand over public open space to the council, with a payment for future maintenance. The SPD also covers a range of other obligations that the Council is seeking to place on developers of future housing sites.

The Planning Obligations SPD sets out the Council's approach towards asking for financial contributions to the community when considering planning applications. It identifies when contributions may be asked for, depending on the scale of development, and how much.

Chelmsford City Council is also inviting comments on:

Making Places SPD - This document is about making sure developments built here are high-quality and sustainable. It sets out the standards the City Council will ask for when considering all future planning proposals, from big developments to small house extensions.

South Woodham Ferrers Neighbourhood Plan - this has been developed by South Woodham Ferrers (SWF) Town Council and proposes local planning policies for SWF. Once adopted, it will become part of Chelmsford's Local Plan.

Consultation closes at 4pm on Thursday 12 November on all three documents.

You can read and comment on all three documents on Chelmsford City Council's Consultation Portal at https://consult.chelmsford.gov.uk/portal or on the consultation page at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/new-local-plan

Comments can also be sent in via email (please include your name) to: planning.policy@chelmsford.gov.uk, by post to: Planning Policy Team, Spatial Planning Services, Chelmsford City Council, Civic Centre, Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JE, or in person: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm - Customer Service Centre, Civic Centre, Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JE.

Paper copies will be made available for viewing as soon as practicable at the Council's Customer Service Centre, which is currently open for reduced hours. If you want to view the consultation documents in person, please call to make an appointment first on 01245 606606. For the latest opening restrictions, please visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/coronavirus