£1bn Beaulieu Park plans submitted

26 October 2009

Andrew Martin Associates (AMA) - part of Capita Symonds - has submitted an outline planning application for a £1bn mixed use development in north-east Chelmsford. 

The application, made on behalf of client Countryside Zest (Beaulieu Park) LLP, includes up to 4,000 new homes; a new business park; retail, hotel, open space, education and community facilities; new highways and public transport provision.

The application is the culmination of a number of years work to promote what is a major strategic and sustainable expansion of Chelmsford. The scheme is also one of the first to be promoted successfully through a new development plan system (Phase 1, comprising approximately 600 dwellings, was secured through the previous local plan process in the early 1990s).

The proposals for the new neighbourhood have been incorporated into the adopted Chelmsford Borough Core Strategy and emerging North Chelmsford Area Action Plan. The Core Strategy sets the overarching planning policies to guide development in the borough and identifies broad locations, including north-east Chelmsford, to accommodate growth. Once finalised, the North Chelmsford Area Action Plan will define precise boundaries for specific allocations of land. 

As well as acting as planning agents for the project over the last 20 years, AMA managed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and the preparation of the accompanying Environmental Statement (ES). AMA also provided technical expertise on landscape & visual impact, socio-economics and cumulative impact.

In terms of transport infrastructure, the application safeguards land for the proposed north-east Chelmsford bypass and incorporates provision for the early delivery of a relief road to White Hart Lane, linking the Boreham Interchange to Essex Regiment Way. The project also includes a new railway station which will be the subject of a separate planning application, due to be submitted by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Grade I listed ‘New Hall’ occupies a prominent position at the application site. Originally a Tudor palace/hunting lodge, it is now a public school set within a Grade II registered park and garden. The form and shape of the masterplan are based on the principles established over a long period by several eminent architectural historians and landscape architects who established the consensus view that an arc of land to the south of New Hall should remain open. As a result this open space, which will provide an enhanced setting to the listed building and its grounds, is to be dedicated as parkland.

The 16 week target determination period for the application runs to early January 2010, unless Chelmsford Borough Council and the applicant agree to extend this. A final decision is likely to be made towards the end of 2010.