Chelmsford City Council reviews Local Plan to address climate and affordable housing crises

July 12, 2022 2:11 PM

chelmsford town signChelmsford City Council will give a higher priority to action on climate change, affordable housing and community facilities in an upcoming review of its Local Plan. This change of priorities is driven by the Liberal Democrats, who want to address the failings of the current Local Plan, written by the previous Conservative leadership of the City Council.

The council is proposing a new strategic vision, to guide Chelmsford's growth to be a greener, fairer and more connected community, and the Lib Dem-led City Council is keen to involve local people in shaping the city's future.

Local Plans must be reviewed every five years

A Local Plan allows local decision-making on how to meet a community's economic, environmental, housing and social needs. Where a council has a Local Plan, the Government requires a review every five years.

As Chelmsford City Council adopted its Local Plan in May 2020, the council must review it by May 2025 (the review will extend the document to 2041). That process needs to start now, to properly involve the community.

The review will address changes in local and government policy, issues such as the climate crisis and a rising population. The growth in the city means a recalculation of employment and housing demand which then affects the type of developments and where they should be.

Your feedback will guide the Local Plan

The council will be consulting with you on the review, and it is very important that you take part.

Cllr Stephen Robinson, leader of Chelmsford City Council said: "Population and housing growth is inevitable. It is vital that we guide that growth to address the climate and ecological emergency and the housing affordability crisis and deliver the infrastructure and services we need to be a more connected community. We need you to help us make the important decisions and shape our future community.

There are five broad approaches to allocating growth around the district and no decisions have been made about any of this. The Local Plan review is an open consultation, and I really urge all residents to take part.

Feedback from residents will guide the council on which approach(es) the council should adopt.

Local Plan review consultation begins in August

At this early stage, the consultation document does not present updated policy or specific site allocations for housing or other uses.

Such information will follow after further work, feedback from this consultation and evidence gathering, and will be presented in the next stage of the plan (known as the preferred options).

The council will ensure there will be lots of opportunities for you to get involved. You can listen online when the review is discussed at the Chelmsford Policy Board on 14 July (details of how to tune in will be posted on the Chelmsford City Council website) and there will be regular posts about it on social media. And, don't forget, you can read all the documents on the council website.