The development of Channels, Chelmsford is a key component of Chelmsford City Council’s Adopted Core Strategy for meeting the expected future housing, employment, recreation, and leisure requirements. It was allocated for development as part of the North Chelmsford Area Action Plan (NCAAP).
Located four miles to the north of Chelmsford town centre on the grounds of a 27-hole golf course, this project required sensitive interaction with the local community. A 14th Century clubhouse, an 18th Century thatched barn, a number of privately owned homes and the facilities for a local bowls club all presented important features to be incorporated with the development.
The Channels development was granted planning permission for 750 homes in 2012 and since then has been built in a number of phases by different developers. Bellway at Channels consists of the initial two phases of development; Eagle Rise & Aqua Verde and many residents have been on the site since 2016.
The image below shows the overall site management plan which includes each phase of the Channels development and the “Strategic” (site-wide) managed areas:
The Channels site contains a number of landscape features which are considered important for the enhancement and protection of species within the ecological environment such as great crested newts, badgers and reptiles. There were strict planning conditions that required developers and residents to comply with ecology plans which were worked up in conjunction with Southern Ecological Solutions.
The site is inspected regularly by an ecologist who looks at the impact on the overall area and who will issue on-going guidance accordingly. As such there are limitations on what can be done with the land.
For reference, documents outlining the original vision for Channels can be found below:
Residents are obligated, as stated in their deeds, to pay an appropriate fee for upkeep of the estate in perpetuity whilst they remain the owners of their properties. The council will not take on any responsibility for the communal areas. There is also an obligation for residents, as part of planning conditions, to contribute to the upkeep of site-wide estate areas.
The local authority will not therefore take on any responsibility for communal areas although Highways will adopt the vast majority of roads and pavements.