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.