Councillors approve redevelopment at Channels Golf Club

First published in News

PLANS to build up to 750 homes on a golf course have been approved, despite concerns about the infrastructure needed to support them.

Land at the southern end of Channels Golf Club, in Belsteads Farm Lane, Little Waltham, will be redeveloped as part of the North Chelmsford Area Action Plan (NCAAP).

Despite losing this land, an area to the north of the club will become part of the course and has been specifically set aside within the NCAAP so no facilities will be permanently lost.

The site itself is located to the north of Springfield and east of Essex Regiment Way.

However, when Chelmsford City’s Council’s planning committee met to make a decision on the proposals, Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Fuller, who is not a member of the committee, raised concerns.

He said: “There’s a very real possibility that we will have 350 homes or 1,350 homes built in the countryside with no connection to the Boreham Interchange.

“These developers can pull out after 350 or 1,000 and not build anymore and not be committed to building anymore infrastructure. It will be diabolical for the north of Chelmsford.

“It’s really important we get some guarantees before we allow this to go ahead.”

A report supporting the planning application states that specifically, improvements are needed at the Boreham Interchange at junction 19 on the A12 to improve capacity and manage increased traffic volumes caused by the development.

A radial distributor road (RDR) serving the neighbourhood would run from the Boreham Interchange to the Belsteads Farm roundabout on Essex Regiment Way, which the NCAAP says should be provided and funded by developers as part of the development.

A link road would also be provided from the RDR for access to the new railway station and business park, which are part of the £1billion Greater Beaulieu Park scheme led by developers Countryside Zest.

The existing Generals Lane railway bridge will also be replaced.

Hugo Kirby, speaking on behalf of the Channels developers, Cliffords Group Ltd and Chelmsford Land Ltd, assured the committee a “robust” legal agreement containing specific obligations about infrastructure is in place and £1.75million is being offered upfront to cover the cost of the slip road works.

He also said 40 per cent of the development is frozen to allow for the creation of the new golf course.

- THE Channels site is part of an overall vision to redevelop north east Chelmsford.

An area of land, now referred to as Greater Beaulieu Park, includes land north of Beaulieu Park, New Hall School and the Boreham Interchange, and is the subject of two planning applications submitted by Countryside Zest for up to 3,600 new homes, commnity facilities and a business park, with a separate application for a new railway station.

These are expected to go before the planning committee on September 4.

It is possible that both the Channels and Greater Beulieu Park developments will go ahead at the same time.

However, this would be subject to caps on dwelling numbers and triggers for completing infrastructure works.

These include:

- No more than 350 homes can be occupied at Channels before the slip road improvement works at the Boreham Interchange are complete.

- That figure of 350 will be reduced if occupations at Channels and Greater Beaulieu Park reach 1,000 before the slip road works are finished.

- No more than 350 homes can be occupied before the RDR amd replacement Generals Lane bridge is finished and available for use.

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