Chelmsford City Council

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Chelmer Waterside

Chelmer Waterside is a large expanse of land to the east of the city centre. It used to be a gas works and some areas are still industrial. For many years, much of this land was inaccessible to the public. But this area faces directly onto three waterways and is less than a five minute walk from the city centre. This makes it a very attractive and sustainable place to build new homes.

We have allocated the whole of the Chelmer Waterside area for housing-led development in our Local Plan. The next step is to set up a guiding vision to plan out housing growth, while protecting the environment. We want to make sure this is a high-quality new neighbourhood for everyone to enjoy.

The first phase of this transformation is already underway, which will provide 446 new homes. To complement this, we have produced a planning framework to show how the remaining land could be developed in a co-ordinated and connected way.

This framework will set the broad parameters of the regeneration and guide future development.  

We will be consulting on the framework between Friday 19 February and Friday 19 March 2021.

New road and bridge

A new road and bridge are needed to provide access to the new neighbourhood.

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

We have now submitted the planning application for the new road and bridge. The planning application number is 21/00024/FUL and you can view and comment on the road and bridge application on Public Access.

Planning framework

You can have your say on the planning framework we are developing, until Friday 19 March 2021.


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 1,100 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. We have now submitted a planning application for the new road and bridge.


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.

We have now submitted a planning application for the new road and bridge, application number 21/00024/FUL. You can view all the details about the new access road and bridge on Public Access.

We have now submitted a planning application for the proposed access road and bridge. You can view all the details on Public Access.

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 2023.

We are now consulting on our Development Framework for Chelmer Waterside and you can comment on this document until Friday 19 March 2021.

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

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Last updated: 22 February 2021

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