About the Local Plan Review

We are reviewing our adopted Local Plan.

We adopted our current Local Plan in May 2020. It guides growth and development across Chelmsford City Council's area to 2036. We need to review the plan at least every five years, to see if we need to update it. We need to consider new national policy and changing local circumstances, and make sure we meet the needs of our current and future residents. The review will mean that the Local Plan will now run until 2041.

As part of this we are reviewing:

  • the amount and potential locations for new development of homes, jobs and infrastructure
  • areas for protection, such as open space and sites for wildlife


Issues and Options (previous stage)

This was the first stage of consultation, which took place in 2022. Many people and organisations commented and we have carefully considered all the responses, alongside updated evidence, national planning policy, new local priorities, and monitoring data. We have published all the comments on our consultation portal

Preferred Options (current stage)

We are preparing for this stage of consultation (Spring 2024).

Pre-Submission (future stage)

Consultation will focus on legal compliance and consistency with national planning policy.

Submission (future stage)

This is the formal Submission of the Local Plan. We will submit all plan documents, evidence, and comments to the Planning Inspector for an Independent Examination.

Preferred Options

We are preparing to consult on the Preferred Options document. This is a full draft of the reviewed Local Plan. It includes updated and new policies and sets out proposed sites where new homes, jobs and other facilities could be located, and contains policies that we would use to decide planning applications.

As part of this, the Council’s Chelmsford Policy Board considered a report on 14 March 2024.

The report set out the background to the Preferred Options document, including the evidence we have used, feedback received to the Issues and Options consultation stage, and how we will consult.

Chelmsford Policy Board agreed to prepare the document for consultation to take place in June 2024. We will offer a variety of opportunities to engage with the consultation and there will be different ways to submit your comments. You should not submit any comments before the consultation starts in May, as we cannot accept them.

We have a specially designed consultation portal for Local Plan consultations. If you register, you can receive alerts on future consultation launches, including Preferred Options. You can also make comments online, and read and save consultation documents.

Find out more

You can find out more via our:

We will continue to assess the Local Plan as we review it, to make sure it contributes towards sustainability. We will assess the following aspects of sustainable development:

  • Sustainability Appraisal
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment
  • Health Impact Assessment
  • Equality Impact Assessment

The IIA assesses the issues and options against a range of social, environmental and economic indicators and helps to identify all the likely significant effects. The IIA advises on ways in which any adverse effects could be avoided, reduced or mitigated or how any positive effects could be maximised. This helps to ensure that the emerging policies, plans and allocations in the Local Plan are promoting sustainable development.

We use the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) to assess sites nominated by landowners, promoters and developers. This helps us when researching and developing future Local Plans.

The SHELAA 2022/2023 is our latest published assessment. This assessed the sites put forward to us for consideration as part of the Local Plan Review. You can view the outcomes of that assessment.

We are currently undertaking the SHELAA 2024 assessment. We will publish the assessment outcomes alongside the preferred options consultation from early May 2024.

The SHELAA is open all year round, meaning you can submit a new site or amend an existing site on a rolling basis. We aim to assess submissions yearly, so a cut-off point for submissions usually falls on 31 December of any given year.

You can submit a site for future assessment, or amend an already submitted site, through the current SHELAA facility. 

You can find out more about how to submit or amend a site, and see the latest assessment outcomes.

We are developing a range of new and updated evidence to support the Local Plan review. We will publish the evidence base here as we develop it. You can search by name and/or category.

You can still view evidence base for the Adopted Local Plan.

We have also published supporting documents to provide more detail on a number of topics.

Topic papers

We have produced a number of Topic Papers to set out how the review of the Local Plan has been developed. We will refresh and update them at each stage of the review process to ensure the latest information/position is available. 

Topic Papers provide background information but they do not contain any policies, proposals or site allocations. They will form part of the Local Plan evidence base which we will submit alongside the Local Plan for independent examination.

The topic papers are on:

We have a specially designed consultation portal for Local Plan and other planning policy consultations.

If you register, you can:

  • read and save consultation documents
  • make your comments online
  • receive alerts on future consultations

You can find out more about how to use the consultation portal.

We use the Local Development Scheme (LDS) to manage the plan-making process. It sets out our timetable for preparing the documents and for consulting on the Local Plan review.

We first adopted an LDS in 2006 and we have reviewed it regularly as we have made progress on producing our Local Plan.

This LDS is the ninth review. You can download the Chelmsford Local Development Scheme 2023-2028.

You can also download the eighth review of the LDS, which we published in November 2021. You can view the changes we have made since November 2021 in Appendix 1 of the 2023-2028 LDS document.

We are committed to working with other councils and key organisations on planning issues that cross council boundaries.

The organisations we regularly work with include Essex County Council, National Highways, environmental organisations and education providers.

We have to ensure that we properly co-ordinate strategic issues such as:

  • land for new homes and jobs
  • infrastructure
  • providing schools
  • mitigating climate change

We have adopted a Duty to Co-operate Strategy, which sets out who we will co-operate with and when, plus how we will do it.

You can download the Duty to Co-operate Strategy.

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