15 March 2022 Latest News

Hamburger roundabout approved as preferred option for vital Chelmsford gateway

Proposals to transform the Army and Navy junction in Chelmsford took another big step forward today after Essex County Council approved a preferred layout option.

A hamburger roundabout (a new roundabout with a road through the centre of it) was residents’ preferred option during public consultation.

Latest assessment shows it also performs best from a business case and performance perspective, with good average journey time improvements for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and motorised vehicles, and a positive impact on the economy.

People were invited to have their say on proposals to re-design the junction and other elements of a proposed Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package during a public consultation last year.

The consultation focused on two junction options – the hamburger roundabout and separate T-junctions - together with proposed Park and Ride and walking and cycling improvements.

In December 2021, the Army and Navy Task Force, made up of elected members of Essex County Council, Chelmsford City Council and Great Baddow Parish Council, as well as Chelmsford MP, Vicky Ford MP, endorsed the hamburger roundabout as its preferred option and a formal decision was made by Essex County Council’s Cabinet today.

It has also been announced today that the proposed Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package will now include a 500-space expansion of the existing Chelmer Valley Park and Ride, instead of a new Park and Ride site in Widford.

Cllr Lesley Wagland OBE, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning, said: “The Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package is an unmissable opportunity to improve journeys for everyone, providing better options for people to travel and encouraging safer, greener, and healthier ways of getting around Chelmsford.

“We recently heard the Department for Transport had approved our strategic outline business case for the scheme and I am delighted we have now also formally approved a preferred option.

“There is a lot of work still to be done, but these are very important milestones in securing Government funding and another big step towards us providing much-needed improvements to this vital gateway.”

Addressing the changes to the Park and Ride proposals, Cllr Wagland added: “We have always known Chelmer Valley Park and Ride would need to be expanded in the future because of planned growth in the area and further north of Chelmsford.

“We originally were proposing a new Park and Ride site in Widford as part of this particular project to provide an alternative for people travelling into Chelmsford from the west and to reduce vehicles on other parts of the road network.

“However, it is clear that there would be significant construction costs and greater financial risks with operating any new Park and Ride site, particularly following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The proposed expansion of Chelmer Valley, as well as Sandon, will still increase overall Park and Ride spaces in Chelmsford and reduce traffic heading into the city centre and using the Army and Navy junction, but limit the financial risk to the council and our taxpayers.

“In the longer term, we would still like to develop a new Park and Ride site to the west of Chelmsford and hope to be able to take that forward as part of a different project in the future.

“The junction improvements in the Army and Navy project provide significant cycling improvements over the existing junction. We are also supportive of Chelmsford City Council’s (CCC) ambitions for wider walking and cycling improvements, which could be part of separate schemes funded from CCC’s developer contribution funds (Community Infrastructure Levy).”

Vicky Ford MP, Member of Parliament for Chelmsford, said: “This is another important step forward in delivering a new junction at the Army and Navy and expanding the Park and Ride will give people more choices on how they travel into Chelmsford.

“Thank you to local residents who shared their thoughts in the consultation.  It is important to get the best possible solution and the feedback from local people has been extremely helpful in agreeing details of the design.

“I know that it is frustrating that the process of developing, designing, finalising funding and then constructing the new junction is a very long process.  I will continue to press for this to be completed as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said: “The City Council is pleased that the Army and Navy project is moving to the next stage.

“The City Council believes that it is vital that the project addresses traffic issues and sustainable transport connections, including cycle paths, across Chelmsford, not just at this major junction.”

An outline business case for the revised £67million Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package will be submitted to the Department for Transport this summer, with a planning application expected in early 2023 and construction scheduled to start in winter 2024.

For more information about the project and to sign up for the e-newsletter, please visit www.essex.gov.uk/armyandnavy.