Village Design Statements

A Village Design Statement (VDS) looks at the village character and its surroundings, and what makes it different and special. It also gives guidance to make sure that any new development, or any other change, fits in with its local context.


Adopted VDS


The VDS is not about whether development should take place. Most importantly the VDS guidance influences all members of the community making changes to buildings and spaces.

Many of the VDS are adopted by the Council as informal guidance, but some have recently been adopted as part of the Local Development Framework. All are taken into account by planning officers when deciding planning applications.

To find out more, please see our Village Design Statement Index


You can ask for a printed copy of a Village Design Statement – please contact the Planning Design Team.


Community-led Plans

Village Design Statements empowered local communities to research, draft and consult on plans that addressed local concerns.

The Council encourages communities to continue these initiatives. Local people can identify issues and objectives and organise task groups to carry out research, writing, photographing, and mapping. They can set up constituted groups to consult and formalise objectives and proposals. The most important thing is to crystallise objectives and devise practical proposals for improvements, whether physical enhancements, economic activity, or social provisions. Within parished areas, such groups would do this in liaison with the parish council; in city centre areas, with local ward councillors and other community leaders. 

The power of a plan lies in the rigorousness of its proposals and its community support. In some cases, this may develop into a neighbourhood plan, but this has to follow more formal regulations set out in the Localism Act. You should consult planning policy team if you are considering these options.

If local issues may affect long term policy, a local group may put together issues and proposals for policies for inclusion in the next local plan for Chelmsford, which will need to reflect local circumstances and community-identified opportunities.