Chelmsford City Council

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Chelmer Waterside


We are creating a new neighbourhood, known as Chelmer Waterside. 450 homes are already under construction at the end of Wharf Road. At least another 450 will be built in the area over the next ten years.

A new road and bridge are needed to provide access to the new neighbourhood and we are inviting your views on this proposal, before we submit a planning application later this year.

We have already secured funding from the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver this new piece of infrastructure.

Later this year (autumn 2020), we will submit a planning application for the new road and bridge. Prior to this, we engaged with local residents, businesses and stakeholders. We wanted to set out the key issues that we will consider as part of the planning application for the project.

Thank you to everyone that responded. We are now considering all of the responses as we prepare the planning application. We expect to submit the application in the autumn.

If you have any further queries about the scheme, you can contact the Economic Development Team.

Aerial view of brownfield site

We adopted our new Local Plan on 27 May 2020. The Plan sets out, amongst other things, where new housing should be built in Chelmsford up to 2036.

Within the Plan, Chelmer Waterside is identified as a key location for new housing development. The area occupies an important city centre location, and comprises various parcels of land, including the former gas works site.

The area has the potential to deliver up to 970 new homes and to make the best use of the city’s waterways, given the presence of the River Chelmer and the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation. Housing development has already been completed and continues to be delivered in this location.

We will need to address a number of constraints before new housing development is possible. These include road access, contaminated land and the presence of high pressure gas mains.

The road and bridge are the next key pieces of infrastructure needed to support this new neighbourhood in a sustainable location in the city centre.

Traffic driving over bridge with red arch and cyclist riding alongside river


The new access road and bridge would link Wharf Road and Parkway, alongside the Essex Record Office. It would replace the existing Bailey Bridge, which spans the River Chelmer. 

It will create access to the new housing sites we identified in our Local Plan. It will also provide additional capacity in the road network, which is currently under pressure at the junction of Springfield Road and Navigation Road.

The new single span bridge will be designed to carry pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles accessing the new neighbourhood. Its purpose is for access only, not as a through route. We are proposing a road width restriction and a 20mph speed limit, to ensure the road is only used for access.

A bowstring bridge design is our preferred option. This design will reflect the former industrial heritage of Chelmer Waterside, whilst creating a local landmark and maintaining enjoyment of, and views along, the river.

Its design will ensure there is enough room for boats using the waterways, which is one of our key objectives. It will also connect into the city's cycle network.

You can download:


The proposed access road and bridge is an area used by many pedestrians, cyclists, residents and visitors, travelling to and from the city centre.

We will provide safe public routes and cycle diversions while work is taking place. We will also try to minimise the impact of any noisy work.

The design of the bridge means that many of the elements can be constructed off-site and erected later, lessening the disruption to nearby residents and businesses.

Map showing new access road and revised cycle routes
National Cycle Route 1 currently crosses River Chelmer over the existing Bailey Bridge. When the new bridge is ready, we will divert this cycle route. It will then follow a route under the new bridge, before crossing the river at an alternative location, north west of the new bridge.

You can download:


In developing the proposal, the project team is carrying out impact assessments. These will cover the local ecology and landscape, and will look at the impact on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Conservation Area.

We will consider these assessments through the planning application process.

The team is also considering whether it will be possible to conserve the historic Bailey Bridge or use it in another location.

In the autumn of 2020, we will submit a planning application for the proposed access road and bridge.

After this, we will carry out further detailed development of the road and bridge before putting the project out to tender. We anticipate that the road and bridge will be ready in the first half of 2022.

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Last updated: 04 September 2020

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