Essex Highways, Safer, Greener, Healthier

Chelmsford North East Bypass granted planning approval

Press Release

A proposed new multi-million-pound bypass between Chelmsford and Braintree took another significant step forward today after the scheme was granted planning approval.

Essex County Council, working with Chelmsford City Council, submitted a planning application for the planned new Chelmsford North East Bypass, which is part of a £250 million investment that also includes a new railway station at Beaulieu.

The scheme will connect to the new Beaulieu Park development in the south and Deres Bridge and Great Leighs in the north, providing a vital link between the A120 and the A12.

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Chelmsford North East Bypass


          CNEB image

Chelmsford is one of the UK’s newest cities and plays a vital role in the heart of Essex providing homes, jobs, shopping, healthcare, education, leisure and recreational opportunities.

As a driver of the regional economy, Chelmsford needs a transport network to match if it is to properly facilitate future development and economic growth.

As a result, Essex County Council, in partnership with Chelmsford City Council, and in collaboration with Network Rail, is behind schemes to deliver a North East Bypass of Chelmsford and a new railway station at Beaulieu.

The transformational road and rail upgrade is being delivered with more than £218m in funding from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, plus £34m of other funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and developer Countryside Zest.

The schemes will create important strategic road and rail links, providing the infrastructure needed to support planned housing and economic growth to the north of Chelmsford, notably Chelmsford Garden Community, which will deliver more than 10,000 new homes, 1 million square feet of new business space, schools, quality open spaces and community facilities.

Chelmsford North East Bypass

The existing A130 between the Boreham Interchange and the A131 was originally built in the 1980s. It needs to be fit for purpose, particularly as Chelmsford continues to grow. A new north east bypass will create a missing link to the wider strategic network and help relieve traffic congestion in Chelmsford.

A proposed new north east bypass was originally put forward in 2005. In 2008, the project was postponed because of insufficient funding, but the proposals were revisited and refreshed in 2015 following consultation with the Beaulieu Park developer and the public, resulting in minor changes to the proposed route.

In 2018, Chelmsford City Council consulted on its Local Plan, which included an updated safeguarded corridor for the proposed bypass. In 2020, the Chelmsford Local Plan was formally adopted and we held a public information event outlining the latest proposals for the Chelmsford North East Bypass.

A planning application for the proposed bypass was approved by Essex County Council's Development and Regulation Committee in April 2022 and the scheme is now progressing through illustrative design and procurement of a main works contractor.

Beaulieu station

To find out more information on the proposed new Beaulieu railway station, which will be the first new station on the Great Eastern Main Line in 100 years, please visit the Network Rail webpage.

What is the Chelmsford North East Bypass scheme?

The scheme will connect to the new Beaulieu Park development in the south and Deres Bridge and Great Leighs in the north, providing a vital link between the A120 and the A12.

A new 4.6km single carriageway bypass will be constructed through Bulls Lodge Quarry, and join a new roundabout on the existing A131 at Chatham Green, while a 1.2km stretch of the existing A131 between Chatham Green and Deres Bridge will also be widened to a dual carriageway as part of the scheme.

A new segregated left turn lane will be created, connecting Main Road, Great Leighs, at Deres Bridge to the southbound carriageway of the A131.

The scheme also includes various walking, cycling, horse riding and bus improvements.

Benefits of the scheme

  • Provide a strategic link between Chelmsford, Braintree, London Stansted Airport and the wider area.
  • Relieve congestion on local roads and enable existing routes into Chelmsford city centre, such as Broomfield Road and Essex Regiment Way, to become sustainable transport corridors.
  • Make accessing the new Beaulieu station a more attractive offer, reducing the need to travel into Chelmsford city centre. This will take 900 vehicles out of the city centre each morning peak, helping reduce pressure on the network, which currently only has 4% capacity at peak times.
  • Provide easier access to the A12.
  • Enable the 7,000 commuters who travel to Chelmsford from the Braintree area to get to work more quickly.
  • In conjunction with the station, the bypass will support the sustainable delivery of over 14,000 new homes, all with excellent choice and connectivity to a wide range of jobs, amenities and transport modes. 

The following video was created in 2020 and explains the background to the Chelmsford North East Bypass project, as well as outlining the proposed bypass route and highlighting key elements of the scheme.

Please note that some design changes have been made, in consultation with land owners, since the video was published and are not reflected in the visualisations of scheme.


Advanced works

Ahead of the construction of the new Chelmsford North East Bypass, a new conveyor bridge which will ultimately span the new bypass will be built. This will enable the continued operation of an existing mineral quarry, Bulls Lodge Quarry, during the construction of the bypass.

A contract for these advanced works has now been awarded and construction of the conveyor bridge is expected to start this summer. Construction is expected to take approximately a year.

No major traffic disruption is expected, with most of the works taking place away from the existing road network.

Further information will be published here once details are finalised with the contractor.

Next steps

Following approval of the bypass planning application in April 2022, we are currently progressing through illustrative design and procurement of a main works contractor. Land negotiations are also ongoing.

The tender period for the main works contract is scheduled to start this summer, with tender responses due in November and a contract expected to be awarded in early 2023.

Subject to acquiring the required land, construction of the Chelmsford North East Bypass is currently scheduled to start in spring 2023 and expected to be completed in summer 2025.

Housing Infrastructure Fund

In March 2019, Essex County Council submitted a Housing Infrastructure Fund bid titled ‘Chelmsford North East bypass and Beaulieu Railway Station’ for this project. 

This set out how investment into the bypass and the railway station would enable the new development at Beaulieu to reach its full potential. It also demonstrated how the new bypass would help relieve congestion on local roads.

In August 2019, it was announced that the Council had been successful with its bid, receiving £218 million to take forward the plans, alongside £99million to take forward the A120-A133 Link Road and Rapid Transit System project.

You can find out more by viewing our bid summaries.

Further information  

You can download the scheme information brochure (published in 2020) from the documents section below.

Previous consultation information can be found via this link.

Chelmsford North East Bypass and Beaulieu Station brochure - Audio read-through (narrated by Chelmsford Talking Newspaper) - 12MB