Chelmsford City Council

We are part of the Essex Community Shield, which brings volunteers together with the people most in need of help due to coronavirus. You can find out how to get help, or how to volunteer. You can also view our latest coronavirus updates.

 

Coronavirus


We understand that our residents and customers may have concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. We would like to reassure you that we are working with the government, NHS, other councils, partners and community groups to keep people safe.

On this page, you can find information about support available to vulnerable and shielded people, as well as updates on any changes to our services.

You can visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus for information about the virus and how to take care of yourself.

You can view our previous YouTube videos


Prevent coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

    

Getting help to the vulnerable and volunteering to help

Together with other councils and organisations, we are part of Essex Community Shield, which is bringing volunteers together with the people most in need of help.

All our recycling and waste collections are currently operating as normal.

Building control

We will continue to assess all building applications in the same way and aim to meet our current turnaround timescales. 

If you are still undertaking building work, you must still notify us when you reach each stage of work, according to your Inspection Service Plan. 

We will be answering all queries on the phone instead of visiting a site in person. Therefore you must provide a suitable phone number. This will allow us to contact you to understand the full extent of the work needed and the site setting, as necessary. 

This will help us determine the correct response to protect you, ourselves and the wider community.

You can contact Building Control on 01245 606431 or email building.control@chelmsford.gov.uk


Planning

We have suspended all meetings with planning officers for the time being. However, you can still request planning advice in writing.

We are not posting site notices.

The Chancellor announced extra help for some businesses in his Budget.

You can view our coronavirus help and guidance for businesses and employers for details of Business Rates changes and other advice.

We have also launched a new parking dispensation scheme for food delivery companies during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find out how to apply.

Food businesses

We understand that food businesses may look to change their business model and diversify in order to maintain their business during this time.

If you are looking to provide takeaways and deliveries and have not previously done so before, you can find out more.

Car parks

We have decided to close Meadows Retail and Townfield Street car parks.

We have closed High Chelmer car park to everyone except Essex County Council permit holders. We have also reduced its opening hours to 6.30am to 8.30pm, Monday to Friday. It will be closed at weekends.

Essex County Council have suspended their Park and Ride service.

 

Other parking matters

You can read full details of all our other changes to parking arrangements. This includes information about enforcement, resident parking and our service levels.

We have also launched a new parking dispensation scheme for food delivery companies during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find out how to apply.

Chelmsford Cemetery closed

Chelmsford Cemetery is now closed to public visits. 

These measures will be introduced with effect from Tuesday 31 March 2020.

The Crematorium and Cemetery remains open for funeral services only.

We apologise for any inconvenience that these measures may cause, but we feel that it is vital to protect our community from unnecessary travel and social contact, as well as to ensure that our service can continue with minimal disruption. 

Memorial Chapel closed

In line with the latest government advice, the memorial chapel is now closed to public visits until further notice.

You can still  view the Book of Remembrance. 

Crematorium and Burial Services

Crematorium and Burial Services will continue at Chelmsford Crematorium, New Writtle Street, Chelmsford.

Following Public Health England’s, the government, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management’s advice, we continue our risk-based approach to limit and avoid the spread of coronavirus by limiting attendants at funeral services/gatherings to attendees who are the immediate family. This includes:          

  • spouses or partners
  • parents or carers
  • brothers or sisters
  • children and their partners

To further ensure that such social and personal distancing among these family groups can be observed at all times, it is necessary to also introduce changes to limit capacity and numbers of immediate family attending funeral services. This means:

  • seating within the South Chapel will allow a maximum of 20 people, spaced out to allow appropriate personal distancing with no standing room provided
  • seating within the North Chapel will allow a maximum of 10 people, spaced out to allow appropriate personal distancing with no standing room provided

These measures will be introduced with effect from Wednesday 25 March 2020.

We are absolutely committed to keeping our most essential services running during the outbreak.

We apologise for any inconvenience that these measures may cause, but we feel that it is vital to protect our community from unnecessary travel and social contact, as well as to ensure that the service itself can continue with minimal disruption. 

Chelmsford Cemetery and Crematorium office closed

We have made a slight change to our Cemetery and Crematorium service in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The bereavement service will continue operating as normal.

However, to ensure that this vital function can continue and to protect staff and residents as much as possible, the Crematorium office on Writtle Road is closed to customer visits in person with immediate effect (from Thursday 19 March).

The service will still respond to any enquiries by telephone and email. You can contact the Bereavement Office by phone on 01245 605630 or email crematorium@chelmsford.gov.uk

All other essential City Council services are running as normal. Any updates will be posted to this page.

If your income has been affected by coronavirus and you need help with your rent, we want to provide you with some information to help you at this difficult and uncertain time.

You can view our Coronavirus guidance for Council Tax and benefits.

Customer Service Centre

We have now closed our Customer Service Centre, in light of the latest government advice.

However, you can still call us on 01245 606606, although we are experiencing a high volume of calls.

If you are homeless, you need to contact the team on housing.solutions@chelmsford.gov.uk or the duty officer number 01245 606880.

 

Mobile Customer Information Service

We have decided to suspend our Mobile Customer Information Service visits from Wednesday 18 March, until further notice.

This is to keep our communities safe considering the current national situation.

Our phone lines and website-based services remain open and there are no changes to any essential Council services. To stay updated, you can sign up to our  mailing list.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commission elections scheduled for May 2020 have been postponed to May 2021. We have also postponed the by-election for the Councillor vacancy in Moulsham Lodge.

You can see more information on our upcoming elections page.

Stray dogs

We are no longer providing an out of hours stray dog service. The stray dog service will operate from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.

If you find a stray dog, you can continue to report it to us as normal by phone on 01245 606606.

However, we will only deal with found stray dogs that are causing a significant concern to the public regarding dangerous behaviour or if they are causing a major nuisance. For example, excessive dog foul in an area.

We will not be responding to any other stray dog reports.

Pest control

We are now only dealing with pest control requests regarding rats or mice. We are continuing to accept these bookings as these pests are a main public health concern.

We will re-visit two weeks after initial treatment, instead of the normal one week.

Three Foot People Festival

It is with a heavy heart that we must let you know that this year’s 3foot People Festival is cancelled. 

We had really hoped that it might be able go ahead, but with just 13 weeks to go and little certainty over what will happen in the next few months, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel. 

We’ve left it as long as we can, but our festival takes many weeks to plan and put on. It has now reached the stage where it is no longer feasible for us to continue. We hope you understand.  

The very last thing we want is to disappoint our amazing festivalgoers, brilliant sponsors and dedicated suppliers, but as with so many other events planned for 2020, the time has come for us to bow out.  

Rest assured, we won’t stop working and we’ll start planning 3foot 2021 in the meantime. We’ll do everything we can to make our next festival the most wonderful celebration we can manage after this very strange and difficult year.  

To stay up to date with plans for 3foot 2021, keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram @3footfestival and our website.

If you’d like to hear about other events and festivals that we have in the pipeline, you can also follow Chelmsford City Events on socials or visit our website www.chelmsford.gov.uk/events.  

We are going to miss you, but for now, thank you and stay safe. 

Chelmsford City Events 

Older People's Information Day

We have decided to not run this year’s Older People’s Information Day on Tuesday 21 April. This is to protect our residents from the threat of coronavirus and in line with the advice and guidance from the Government.  

You can read more on the  Older People's Information Day page

Additional support for homeless people and rough sleepers

The most vulnerable in our society remain a top priority for Chelmsford City Council, including people sleeping rough and others who are homeless. Officers from Chelmsford City Council, Essex County Council, neighbouring local authorities and central government are working together to develop additional support for those who are sleeping rough.

The night shelter in Chelmsford, run by CHESS Homeless, have their own contingency plans in place should there be a virus case. CHESS and other services and charities are providing information to all clients to help protect them from the virus and maintain support as best they can in challenging circumstances. These organisations and their volunteers are currently working alongside us to do everything that they can to help others.

The City Council, with our partners CHESS, Essex County Council, Police and other local organisations are currently concentrating efforts to maintain contact with rough sleepers and plan for additional accommodation with the aim to manage the risk of illness and reduce the need to go back to the streets.

If anyone is worried that they are going to become homeless, you do not need to come to us in order to be helped. As soon as you become aware that you are at risk of homelessness, contact us at housing.solutions@chelmsford.gov.uk or telephone 01245 606880. It is often possible to prevent homelessness if advice is given early.

Housing Register

We are currently still running our choice-based lettings scheme. If you are on the Housing Register, you can express your interest in properties advertised each week by the registered providers (housing associations).

Therefore, you can still bid on available properties and we will continue to assess who is the successful nominee in line with our housing need and allocations policy.

However, as most landlords of social housing have currently suspended lettings due to coronavirus, if you are successful for a nomination and the registered provider is willing to offer a tenancy, your move date will be delayed.

Due to coronavirus, we have made some temporary amendments to our housing assistance policy. You can view the  updated housing assistance policy.

Chelmsford City Council Leisure Centres to close tonight (Friday 20 March)

Chelmsford City Council will be closing all four of its leisure centres, including Riverside, from the close of business tonight. We’ve been agonising over the right time to do this; we know how important exercise is to so many of you and we didn’t want to act too soon and remove a vital service before it was necessary. But with schools around the country closing and over-70s asked to start a period of self-isolation, now is the time for us to act.

We know this decision will not please everyone, but we all have our part to play in stopping this terrible pandemic and this is one of the ways we can do our bit. We’ll be constantly reviewing the latest guidance from the Government; we’ll keep in touch and let you know as soon as we are able to get our centres up and running again.

No customers will lose money while our centres are closed. All direct debit memberships will be frozen with immediate effect, and anyone who has paid an annual fee will have their membership extended.

The following centres will close tonight from:

  • Riverside Leisure Centre (8pm)
  • Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Centre (8pm)
  • South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre (8pm)
  • Dovedales Sports Centre (11pm)

About Direct Debits, payments and refunds

  • All direct debits will be frozen with immediate effect. This covers all Wellness memberships, Swim School, Skate School, Sports School and Patch memberships. You do not need to do anything – we will freeze your payments automatically
  • We will not be offering a partial refund for March Direct Debit payments at his stage. This will be reviewed once we have a date for reopening but we will ensure that customers don't lose out financially. 
  • Please do not cancel your direct debit with your bank. This will result in a delay in resuming your membership when we re-open
  • We will give all members advance notice of when their direct debits will start again once we are able to confirm when we will be re-opening our centres
  • All children’s holiday courses, parties and any other pay-as-you-go activities will be refunded automatically. There is no need to contact us, we will be in touch to process your refund, please allow up to 7 days for refunds to be processed. 
  • So that we can get in touch with people who have urgent bookings, we have a favour to ask of you. Please don’t call us for a refund in the coming days if you have a booking that isn’t coming up for a while. We will be in touch with every customer who needs a refund, but we will have to do this in date order.

 

Thank you for your understanding and take good care of yourselves in the coming weeks. We’ll contact you soon with regular content and tips from our team about how to stay healthy at home, and if you haven’t already done so, sign up for www.chelmsford.gov.uk/mailinglist.

In light of the current situation and the introduction of new emergency regulations, we have made some changes to the application processes for licences.  

Licensed premises

You can submit applications in relation to the Licensing Act 2003 and implied consent will apply in most cases.

Personal licences

You can apply for a personal licence by emailing licensing@chelmsford.gov.uk. You must:

  • scan all required documents, including high resolution photos, and send them to us by email
  • provide us with your DBS reference details in order to access search results of the basic disclosure check
  • retain all original documents until we confirm your application has been successful

 

Taxis and private hire vehicles

We will no longer be:

  • accepting any new hackney carriage or private hire drivers licence applications
  • accepting cheques
  • accepting any Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) forms or supporting documents, but we will extend the licence period until this can be completed
  • carrying out any Taxi Knowledge tests

Renewals

To renew a driver licence, you must  contact us and post any original documents (if necessary) to Licensing, Civic Centre, Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1JE.

To renew a vehicle licence, you must  contact us and send any relevant documents by email to  licensing@chelmsford.gov.uk

We will now only be accepting payments over the phone.

MOTs and inspections

The government recently announced that they are extending MOT due dates for six months for certain types of vehicle from Monday 30 March 2020. You can read more about the MOT changes on the GOV.UK website.

If your taxi or private hire vehicle inspection due date is between 30 March 2020 and 30 September 2020, it will need to be completed by 7 October 2020, unless this is extended further. 

If you are a local business or self-employed you can visit the  GOV.UK website for further guidance during this time. 

We are still responding to any enquiries by phone and email. You can contact Licensing by phone on  01245 606727 or email licensing@chelmsford.gov.uk

The majority of the Retail Market is now closed until further notice.

However, the following stalls will be open from 8.30am to 1.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday:

  • fruit and veg stall 
  • butchers 
  • Pastasciutta 

 

In addition, Wagsters Pet Supplies will be operating on Saturdays only.

In the light of this week’s announcement by the Prime Minister, we have decided to postpone all scheduled meetings of the Council’s Cabinet, committees and sub-committees for the foreseeable future. 

This applies to the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council to adopt the Chelmsford Local Plan due to be held on 31 March. Postponed meetings in March and April include: 

  • Audit and Risk Committee on Wednesday 25 March
  • Regulatory Committee on Thursday 26 March
  • Extraordinary Meeting on Tuesday 31 March
  • Cabinet on Tuesday 7 April
  • Planning Committee on Tuesday 14 April
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday 27 April 

We will put back any business from these meetings to a later date. 

We will confirm in the next two weeks whether the Licensing Hearing due to be held on 20 April 2020 will be going ahead.

We have made the decision to postpone these meetings following advice from Government to minimise the risk of infection. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will update further.   

We are expecting to be given new powers by the government soon to conduct virtual meetings using web-based communication and engagement platforms. We will publish further details in due course.

The government has announced that they are extending MOT due dates for six months for certain types of vehicle from Monday 30 March 2020. 

This means we are not accepting MOT booking at Freighter House after 30 March, unless your MOT ran out in March.

You can read more about MOT changes.

Chelmsford Museums and Sandford Mill will be closing tonight (Friday 20 March) until further notice.

With schools across the country shutting and over-70s recommended to self-isolate, we believe that this is the responsible time to close the doors and help everyone to follow the Government’s social distancing guidance in order to beat the coronavirus. We’ll keep the situation constantly under review and let you know as soon as we are able to reopen.

The Hive café within Chelmsford Museum is also closing.

Anyone who has bought a ticket for an upcoming event at the Museums will be refunded. You don’t need to request the refund. We will be in touch with you in the coming days, so please be patient as we work our way through the list.

While many of us are working and learning from home, we want to remain a useful resource for those wanting to explore local social, cultural and scientific history. 

Our curatorial team is working on ways of bringing our collections to you in the coming weeks and we’ll be in touch soon with more details. For all the latest, keep an eye on our website and social media accounts @chelmsfordmuseums.

 

For now, take care, and we’ll see you soon.

In the context of Public Health England’s and the government advice, all our parks and green spaces remain open for daily exercise. We are committed to maintaining our parks and green spaces, ensuring these remain open to the local community.

However, we have now closed:

  • all play areas and outdoor gyms. This includes the adventure playground at   Hylands Park
  • all tennis courts and multi-use sports surfaces across our parks
  • all toilets within parks 
  • the car park at Saltcoats Park and Compass Gardens in South Woodham Ferrers

 

Hylands

We have shut all vehicle entrances to Hylands until further notice. This covers both the Writtle Road entrance and the Three Mile Hill/London Road entrance.

We have also closed:

  • the adventure castle play area
  • Mauro's outdoor cafe
  • the Stables Cafe
  • the Artist Studios

In addition, we have suspended the monthly open house and farmers' markets and all events at the House.


Volunteering

We also continuing our risk-based approach to limit and avoid transmission of the coronavirus and to ensure social distancing, and avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings. This means we will suspend our volunteering projects and activities in parks and green spaces until further notice.

This includes:

  • all conservation volunteering
  • all garden volunteering
  • the community allotment project
  • project work with schools and other partners, such as corporate groups

We are so grateful for your time and commitment, but for now, the health and wellbeing of our amazing volunteers and partners is our top priority. 

 

Our parks staff will continue to manage and maintain the parks and green spaces we all love, and we hope that in the not too distant future we’ll be working with our volunteers once more.

All toilets in parks will be closed. 

Our toilets in Market Road will be open every day from 10am to 3pm. 

Chelmsford City Council has today (Tuesday 17 March 2020) taken the decision to immediately close Chelmsford City Theatres until further notice. We are doing this to protect our residents following advice to the public to avoid theatres. 

Our staff will be contacting everyone who has a ticket for a forthcoming show to organise a refund. We would love it if you might consider a credit for a future show, but we completely understand if you would simply prefer to have your money back; it is up to you.

So that we can get in touch with people who have urgent bookings for this week, we have a favour to ask of you. Please don’t call our Box Office in the coming days if you have a booking that isn’t coming up for a while. We will be in touch with every customer who has booked tickets for any cancelled show, but we will have to do this in date order.

We will also shortly be in touch with anyone who has hired one of our theatres to discuss with them what happens next.

We hope you understand; we’re sorry to have to shut down but there is nothing more important than our customers’ health. Thank you for your patience and we would like to reassure you that all your essential City Council services are running as normal. 

To stay updated, sign up for news at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/mailinglist

We have set up a taskforce to ensure strong links between council services, the voluntary sector, and the wider community.

Together with other councils and organisations, we are part of Essex Community Shield, which is bringing volunteers together with the people most in need of help. 

Protect yourself against coronavirus-related scams

There are numerous bogus emails and text messages circulating, so find out how to spot them and protect yourself from fraud.


Essex County Council services


Schools

We are not responsible for schools or education, as this comes under the remit of Essex County Council


Household recycling centres

We are not responsible for household recycling centres, as this comes under the remit of Essex County Council. However, all household recycling centres in Essex are currently closed. 

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Last updated: 03 April 2020

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