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Tindal Square, Chelmsford

Latest News - 19 August 2020: Tindal Square update

In June, Chelmsford City Council’s Cabinet gave its support for the scheme to move to the next stage of detailed design. This will see the square transformed into a prioritised pedestrian square, removing vehicle access and creating a new usable public space at the top of the High Street.

The next stage of the scheme will see consultation undertaken on the Traffic Regulation Orders required to bring the scheme to fruition. Further details on this can be seen below.

It is intended that the detailed design will be undertaken over the coming months, with construction likely to begin in the second half of 2021.

Background

Chelmsford City Council and Essex County Council are working together to deliver a new public square at Tindal Square.

Tindal Square and Shire Hall, opposite, are at the historic and civic heart of the city, forming an integral meeting point of five streets at the top of the High Street.

Currently separated from the High Street by a road, this scheme, developed as part of the Chelmsford city growth package, will improve Tindal Square by removing through-traffic and creating a prioritised pedestrian space, whilst also maintaining an uninterrupted east-west cycle link.

Transforming Tindal Square in this way offers an excellent opportunity to create a new public square at the head of the High Street, offering significant benefits to residents, visitors and the local economy.

The plans - public realm

 

Tindal Square has four delivery stages. At each phase, the project becomes more certain and key elements are fixed. 

  • Concept (complete) – This was developed over the summer of 2019 following a public consultation exercise. It set the scope of the project and the headline objectives. It was agreed that Tindal Square should become a pedestrian focused space through which cycles could pass, that the Square would be closed to through-traffic, the servicing of the High Street would change and every effort be made to better integrate Shire Hall into the project.
  • Preliminary Design (complete) – Options have been identified along with alignment of the cycle route and the required Traffic Regulation Order, Broad locations of seating and tree planting have also been identified. At this stage, details such as materials are not fixed.
  • Detailed Design – A single option is selected from the Preliminary Design. This is worked up with greater precision, enabling the scheme to go out to tender. This is the first point at which market testing of the project costs are known.
  • Implementation – A contractor is selected, and the project is constructed.

The Preliminary Design stage has now been completed, with two options identified and agreement from Chelmsford City Council to progress Option 1, providing funding is available. Further details can be seen in the Cabinet Report.

The detailed design will include the following elements:

  1. The creation of a public space where pedestrians will have priority, cyclists will be able to move through the space between identified gateway points giving care to more vulnerable users (by clear messages on signs and symbols on the ground) and taking into consideration the latest government standards for shared use space.
  2. Removal of road traffic and street clutter, to enable the transformation of a new public square extending the High Street up to Shire Hall and across to the Judge Tindal Statue and Tindal Terrace. 
  3. Paving pattern radiating out from Shire Hall with shapes along the centre of the High Street making way to Half Moon Square. 
  4. Tindal Square will be comprehensively paved in natural stone paving to respect the character of the historic environment and to connect with Half Moon Square and The Exchange
  5. Trees planted to help create a green space.
  6. The provision of stylish but robust comfortable street furniture including seven seats for the public, cycle stands at appropriate locations, wayfinding signs and creative lighting to draw people into the city centre in the evening.
  7. A flexible space for future events, such as the opportunity for temporary staging at the head of the high street.
  8. Areas identified for tables & chairs potential (where requested and as licensed).

Traffic Regulation Orders

As part of the concept stage, Essex County Council and Chelmsford City Council invited residents, visitors and businesses to complete an online questionnaire about the proposals. The six-week consultation ran between June and July 2019 and received 305 responses.

The majority of respondents were in favour of prioritising pedestrians at Tindal Square, with over half strongly supporting the plans to create a high-quality public space to complement Shire Hall. As part of the scheme, access arrangements for vehicles along the High Street will be changed:

  • For loading and unloading HGVs, access to Tindal Square and the High Street will be restricted to the hours between 6pm and 9am
  • All vehicles will access the High Street from Baddow Road and exit via New Street
  • Traffic flowing through the High Street will be one-way northbound (Baddow Road to New Street).
  • All vehicles will be prohibited from accessing Tindal Square and the High Street from Market Road and New Street.
  • A 7.5 tonne environmental weight limit will be imposed on all vehicles travelling between Tindal Square and the High Street.
  • Tindal Street will be one-way southbound for its entire length.         

In order to undertake these changes a ‘Traffic Regulation Order’ (TRO) is required. TROs are legal documents that restrict or prohibit the use of the highway network. As a statutory process, A TRO requires Essex County Council, as the Highways Authority, to undertake a consultation. This is currently due to commence later this summer.