Chelmsford City Council

Gypsy and Traveller site at Drakes Lane

Developments and improvements - Gypsy and traveller site at Drakes Lane map.png

We have granted planning permission to change the use of land to a Gypsy and Traveller site. The planning application reference is 18/01476/FUL.

The site is to the east of Drakes Lane Industrial Estate (north west of Little Waltham), at the junction between Drakes Lane and Boreham Road.

The application includes:

  • residential accommodation for nine fully-serviced Gypsy and Traveller pitches
  • a site manager's office
  • visitor parking
  • a children's play area

Each proposed pitch includes:

  • hardstanding for one static caravan
  • hardstanding for one travelling caravan
  • two parking bays for larger vehicles
  • an amenity building containing a kitchen, lounge and dining, shower room and utility, and separate toilet facilities
  • an external storage shed
  • a secure enclosure for metal gas bottles
  • a clothes drying area

Access to the site would be from a new entrance on Drakes Lane, which will have a security barrier.

To achieve this, the developer will need to remove part of the existing hedgerow, and trim the rest back for visibility.

The site manager's office would be located at the site entrance.


Developments and improvements - Gypsy and traveller site at Drakes Lane site layout.png

This plan gives an overview of the layout of the site.

National policy

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires us to assess the housing needs of different groups in the community, including gypsy and travellers.

Part of this needs assessment involves identifying how many pitches we need for gypsy and traveller accommodation in the area. To do this, we follow the  national Planning Policy for Travellers Sites (PPTS), which details how to carry out a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA).

Once we have carried out a GTAA, we have to:

  • set pitch targets to meet the need for accommodation
  • allocate land
  • provide criteria-based policies within the local plan to meet the need


Needs in Essex

We carried out a GTAA with all other local authorities in Essex. This GTAA covers the whole of Essex, and identifies the Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople accommodation needs for each authority until 2033.

You can  download the report showing the needs in Essex.

Needs in Chelmsford

The GTAA identifies the need for six Gypsy and Traveller pitches and 24 Travelling Showpeople plots in the Chelmsford area until 2033.

We adopted our new Local Plan on 27 May 2020. This is valid until 2036, so we need to consider what our needs will be until then.

This means that we will need a total of nine Gypsy and Traveller pitches in the Chelmsford area until 2036.


You can  download the report showing the needs in Chelmsford.


Local Development Framework and North Chelmsford Area Action Plan

We adopted the North Chelmsford Area Action Plan (NCAAP) in 2011. The NCAAP allocated land for a Gypsy and Traveller site in north Chelmsford. This land was within the residential development known as Beaulieu (09/01214/EIA), south of the residential development at Channels (10/01976/OUT).

When the developers prepared detailed proposals for the Beaulieu and Channels developments, they found that additional land adjacent to Essex Regiment Way was needed for:

  • a further roundabout
  • sustainable drainage infrastructure

Consequently, the allocated site was not possible.

The NCAAP allowed for the consideration of other potential options for a Gypsy and Traveller site if the allocated site was not possible. The applicant for the Channels application identified potential land for a site within their ownership, located within the NCAAP.

The site at Drakes Lane was one of two parcels of land for a potential Gypsy and Traveller site. We included this land within the legal agreements that were part of the planning permission for residential development at Channels.

We secured the money to build the Gypsy and Traveller site as part of a legal agreement on the Beaulieu development.

The site at Drakes Lane is the most suitable and deliverable site to meet the NCAAP obligation.


New Local Plan

We have allocated the site at Drakes Lane for the Gypsy and Traveller site within our new Local Plan. We adopted our Local Plan on 27 May 2020.

The Local Plan identifies the need for 24 travelling showpeople plots, and a Gypsy and Traveller site for up to ten pitches at Drakes Lane.

The site at Drakes Lane is the only allocation for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the new Local Plan. This would meet our future needs until 2036.

As part of the development of the new Local Plan, we held a call for sites in 2014 and 2015. This is when developers and land owners submit sites for us to consider for future development. We received a total of 13 potential Gypsy and Traveller sites during this process.

We had to reject nine of these sites as they were within the Green Belt. Our strategy, which supports national planning policy, is to deliver developments outside of the green belt until 2036.

We also had to reject the remaining four sites which were not in the Green Belt. We considered these sites to be unsuitable because the land:

  • formed part of a larger housing allocation that we did not promote
  • was outside of the promoter's control
  • was a site where we have previously dismissed planning appeals for Gypsy and Traveller pitches

We also investigated whether we could extend the existing sites in Chelmsford. However, there was either not enough available land, or extension would mean there were too many pitches on the site.

This process showed that the only available and deliverable site would be at Drakes Lane.

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Last updated: 28 May 2020

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