Chelmsford, the county town of Essex and its only city, has long been a popular commuter hub for those working in London. And its appeal is set to grow to an even greater level in the coming years thanks to a number of major projects that will change the city’s skyline forever.
That’s because Chelmsford is currently a massive hotspot for development, with nine huge schemes either underway or in planning as big money is invested into new housing and leisure facilities.
There are plansin place from Chelmsford City Council to build 9,000 new homes by 2036, which will have a dramatic impact on the city once construction has been completed.
Growth will also include two new drive-thrus, a new Aldi, a new KFC and Starbucks, and the renovation of the much-loved Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre.
Here, we take a closer look at some of the main housing and infrastructure projects taking place in Chelmsford…
Victoria Road, 11 two-bedroom apartments
Work is well underway at a former hairdressers, The Snip, on Victoria Road. The Snip, which had stood in Chelmsford city centre since 1969, has been demolished to make way for 11 two-bedroom apartments.
These apartments will form part of the new five-storey building, with the ground floor set to be reserved for commercial use.
Victoria Road, 200 flats
Staying on Victoria Road, a former Royal Mail site (now disused) is set to become more than 200 flats. Developer Bellway has taken on the mantle of renovating the site after the original plans to turn it into a Waitrose were shelved in early 2016 thanks to the high-end supermarket’s dwindling profits.
Alongside one and two-bed apartments, which are set to open in 2019, the house-builder is also constructing three new commercial outlets.
Beaulieu Park, Springfield
The Beaulieu Park development is already open and functioning – with the construction of a new neighbourhood centre and Sainsbury’s, Costa and Domino’s all opening their doors earlier this year.
Work on a new 420-place school is nearly complete and is set to open for the new academic year in September. The future plans for Beaulieu also include a site for a combined secondary and primary school, a separate primary school and Beaulieu station.
The station, which would act as Chelmsford’s second railway hub, was originally proposed more than two decades ago but progress on its construction has continued to be slow. Initially, the station was set to be delivered by 2022, but the completion date has recently been pushed back a further three years to 2025.
Goldlay Gardens, Old Moulsham
Goldlay Gardens, just off Golday Road in Old Moulsham, forms part of a £42 million scheme designed to tackle the housing shortage in Essex.
Approved in December 2016, building work on the scheme – made up of 32 new homes – started in July last year. This came after the demolition of the building that stood there before it, the city’s former library storage warehouse, in February 2017. The derelict building was replaced by three blocks of one and two-bedroom apartments, all with balconies or terraces, roof-mounted solar panels and car parking around a courtyard garden.
The properties on offer are now available to view and buy, and Councillor John Spence, speaking in September 2017, said “this site will provide high-quality apartments on surplus brownfield land in the heart of Chelmsford’s city centre.”
Former nightclub, 112 new apartments
The iconic Dukes nightclub, which shut its doors for the last time in 2012, is set to be transformed into 112 brand new apartments and a commercial space. Work started on demolishing the building in June of this year, with Fitzpatricks New Homes proposing to build the flats, which will include specialist homes for residents with mobility issues and affordable housing.
The homes will surround a courtyard and the site will also comprise a commercial or retail unit where an office or shop could sit.
Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre
Perhaps the biggest project taking placein Chelmsford is the transformation of the Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre, which – when complete - will include a modern swimming pool, a learner pool, a toddler splash zone and a flume.
Health and fitness studios, a 120-station gym, a soft play area and crèche, improved changing rooms, and a more spacious café and restaurant facing the river have also been included in the plans.
The ice rink and existing sports hall will also be closed at the end of October for a total revamp, while a walkway linking the leisure centre to Bond Street in the city centre will aim to improve access for residents.
Despite the redevelopment goingwellover budget, the centre is expected to generate a strong return of approximately £600,000 per year. This money, which will be invested back into Chelmsford, is up by £100,000 on what the complex generates at present.
For more information about selling or letting a home in the county town of Essex, please get in touch with Balgores Property Group Chelmsford.
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