Chelmsford North Action Group (NAG)

Chelmsford to be engulfed by huge motorways connecting the Channel Ports, via a new Lower Thames Crossing, A130, on to Stansted, M11 and A14. The new A130 at Boreham, Essex Regiment Way and north will damage Lt Waltham, Boreham, Barnston, Ford End, Chatham Green. Lt. Waltham Outer M25 Action Group were criticised for warning about this in mid 2006. It will happen - official Essex and Kent County Council October 2006. And with 16,000 new homes coming to Chelmsford? Join the debate!

Friday, September 07, 2007

North Chelmsford Area Action Plan Consultation. Action Information

Important terms used:- Greenfield & Greenbelt. They are entirely different in Planning Terms. We must not be deceived or confused. Greenbelt means land that has legal protection against development – usually around large cities to contain their area of expansion.

Greenfield has no legal status whatever. Greenfield land is a term used to describe a piece of undeveloped land, either currently used for agriculture or just left to nature. In contrast, Brownfield land is an area that has previously been developed, such as a paved lot or the site of a demolished building. It may have legal conditions restricting its use.

We may think that ‘greenfield’ is the same as greenbelt and that green fields are legally protected against development. They are not. Greenfield has no special legal protection unless it is also legally protected as Greenbelt.

Local Development Framework LDF – this is a series of documents which will determine Council plans for the Borough until 2021. They are crucial.

Core Strategy
The first stage of the LDF that outlines general themes and locations for development. We believe that this document is flawed by ruling out Boreham Airfield as a development site.

North Chelmsford Area Action Plan - Builds on the themes (and flaws) in the Core Strategy by giving site specific locations for development in North Chelmsford

Public Enquiry – known as “Core Strategy Examination in Public”. Starts in Chelmsford Borough Council offices on Sept 11th 2007. It is public. Appears on Chelmsford Council Web site as Core Strategy Examination :-

For general information about the LDF see

North Chelmsford Area Action Plan – Public Consultation

It is important that you visit this and respond before October 23rd .

NCAAP Consultation: If you agree with NAG, please make it clear in your responses that you think it is not satisfactory to have NO options what-so-ever for nearly 90% of the development placement. This is because there is no difference between the 3 options in relation to the major NE Neighbourhood. We believe that the area north of Boreham should be included in order to make this a consultation rather than a dictation.

Please do still state your views about the options in Broomfield because if the Core Strategy is not altered at the Examination in Public, the NCAAP will be used to decide the final development sites."

The North Area Action Plan and associated questions (starts page 12) are tricky to answer.

Question 1: In addition to the matters listed, what other issues and constraints should be taken into account in the preparation of the Area Action Plan? NAG says: the public should be consulted on North Boreham / Boreham Airfield.

Question 8: Which of the suggested development options - 1, 2 or 3 - best accord with the principles set out in the Core Strategy and why? NAG says: the options only affect about 12% of all the houses. There are no options given for North Springfield – some 5000 houses.

Question 16: Do you support Essex County Council’s proposed line for the Chelmsford North-east Bypass? NAG says: yes, we do strongly support the general line of the County route confirmed at an ECC Cabinet meeting March 6th 2007

Question 17: Should we protect the line of a possible Cross Valley link option, to address possible future needs? NAG says: No. The case for a cross valley road is made on a dubious evidential base. Broomfield hospital is being downsized from 3500 staff to around 2,800 staff. Source – reliable hospital spokesman January 2007.

For news and updates visit NAG web site

Chelmsford NAG Public Meeting Broomfield Community Centre

September 6th 2007

Standing room only with many people outside listening and watching through opened windows and doors – we estimate that about 250 people packed the Community Centre last night, Sept 6th to hear extended presentations and discussions relating to Chelmsford’s Development plans up to the year 2021.

Extensive delivery of flyers in the last few days invited residents in Broomfield, Gt and Lt Waltham & Chatham Green to hear updates on the Local Development Framework for Chelmsford. Out meeting, called at very short notice due to delayed publication of the Borough’s North Chelmsford Area Action Plan, considered:

• The upcoming Examination in Public relating to the Core Strategy. Starting in the Council Chamber on September 11th at 10:00AM, this is an absolutely crucial process that will enquire into the ‘soundness’ of the Borough’s plans. NAG is attending.

• The detailed plans that are site specific relating to the proposed location of about 6,000 new houses in North Springfield. This is the North Chelmsford Area Action Plan.

• The by-election also to be on Sept 11th caused by the untimely death of a sitting member for this Ward.

Mr. Roger Cole, a completely independent chairman, introduced speakers Peter Loose, Chairman of NAG and Mike Marriage, NAG Committee member who took the packed house through a 30 minute detailed presentation of the Core Strategy and the North Chelmsford Area Action Plan concluding with the logical case for all new houses to be located north of Boreham on the WWII Airfield. A written survey gave about 97% support for NAG’s case. (see end for details)

Responses from Candidates in the local Ward By-election as well as continuous questioning from the audience ensured a massively informative, good natured meeting lasting for about an hour and a half.

NAG’s essential case is that the initial public consultation leading to the LDF Core Strategy is biased to such an extent that it is fundamentally flawed. NAG shows evidentially that Boreham Airfield is an excellent site for development but that has never been submitted to the public for consultation. We showed that by excluding the area of Boreham Airfield, (or Great Holts or "north of Boreham") Chelmsford Borough was acting against the advice of their professional consultants, Entec. In their 2004 report, Entec ranked Boreham Airfield very highly on a range of sustainability criteria. In fact it received higher ratings that any other site in the borough, including the current proposals in North Springfield and Broomfield!

NAG further showed that even accepting the LDF Core Strategy, there are no options offered in the current public consultation for the location of some 5,000 new houses adjacent to Beaulieu Park. It is a Hobson’s Choice consultation.

NAG shows that there is no need for the proposed highway across the Chelmer Valley to serve the needs of a now downsizing Broomfield Hospital.

Responding, Cllr Neil Gulliver, Planning and Development, explained that he was in sympathy with NAG in respect of the Chelmer Valley Highway and that he is not personally in favour of it. (Note - the NCAAP does call attention to the need for a Cross Valley road.)

A simple written survey was prepared for the meeting asking four questions with yes / no answers. The results are unambiguously decisive:-

1. Do you feel you have been adequately consulted and informed by Chelmsford Borough Council’s consultation process? (yes 6: No 120)
2. Do you feel you have been consulted on all viable options for houses in north Chelmsford? (yes 8: No 118)
3. Are you in favour of a bridged-highway across the Chelmer Valley? (yes 7: No 118)
4. Do you support Chelmsford NAG’s campaign to locate the many thousands of “North Chelmsford” new houses north of Boreham ? (yes 121: no 4)

Chelmsford NAG takes no party political position and does not discuss the politics of members at any time. However we felt every candidate should be given an opportunity to respond to NAG’s case at our public meeting. Two candidates, Dr Reza Houssain for The Green Party and Malcolm Taylor for the Lib Dems attended and gave clearly focussed responses to NAG’s position. There was wide divergence of opinion from the Candidates. Written statements were requested from all non-attenders. Jim Webb, Labour & Charlie Cole, UKIP each provided a statement that was read out in full to the meeting. The Conservative Candidate, Mike Steel tendered his apologies but did not provide a statement. Candidates took part in the public discussion.

Armed with such strong local community support for the democratic process to be seen to be fair, NAG will press ahead and defend its submissions to the Examination in Public starting September 11th. Our submissions call for a wider public consultation to include north Boreham or Boreham Airfield.

NAG is at pains to point out that we have no interest in any developer. Though we now find common cause with much of the Prudential Development plans for north of Boreham, NAG only arrived at this position following extensive examinations of as much public domain material as we could access from several developer proposals in the time we as volunteer non-professionals had available.

Further info fromChairman NAG (Peter Loose)
Chelmers, Lt Waltham. CM3 3LX
Tel: 012453 62 295