Green light to extend pedestrian-friendly High Street Chelmsford

October 18, 2021 10:55 AM

Shire Hall, Tindal Square, Chelmsford (Chelmsford Liberal Democrats)

Plans for an ambitious project that will pedestrianise and reshape Tindal Square (at the top of the High Street) were signed off by Chelmsford City Councillors at the recent Cabinet meeting.

The redesign, proposed jointly by the Chelmsford City and Essex County Councils, will see the pedestrianised High Street extended all the way to the doors of Shire Hall, restoring the Georgian-era layout of the city centre. The historic square will feature seating, new trees and be available as a space for public performances.

The newly-paved square will become car-free pedestrian priority space and allow for cycles to pass safely between Market Road and New Street.

The scheme is fully-funded by developers' contributions and Government funding. It follows an extensive public consultation carried out in Summer 2019. The majority of people who took part showed strong support of the plans. To pedestrianise the square, a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) is needed. This was consulted on in Spring 2021 and was again well-supported.

enhancing Shire Hall

Tindal Square lies at the heart of the Chelmsford Central Conservation Area, a part of the city recognised for its historical significance. Sited at the crossroads of five streets, it has been a square since 1199, with Shire Hall, a Grade-II*-listed building, at its heart. (Shire Hall is owned by Essex CC, who still have to progress plans for its long-term future.)

The councils hope that the scheme will help the city to continue recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. Cllr Mike Mackrory, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development at Chelmsford City Council, said, "Although the Tindal Square plans began some years ago, the green light for them could not come at a better time. Our High Street is bustling again, but we want to make the city centre even more attractive and inclusive for visitors and easier to access by bicycle. Linking and making the most of two of our city's most iconic buildings - Shire Hall and the Cathedral - will be a major breakthrough in doing that."

What's next for Tindal Square?

The council needs to appoint a contractor to carry out the building work. Once a contract is awarded, a start date can be announced.