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Bellway Homes (Essex) is building an exciting new mixed-use quarter in the heart of Chelmsford City Centre. A design-led scheme for 437 new apartments and houses as well as a range of flexible commercial uses are proposed on the derelict Marconi Site which was the world’s first purpose built radio factory and site of the first transatlantic radio transmission.
A broad framework for the public realm was defined by Chelmsford City Council and RMA Architects. Liz Lake Associates’ role was to design a vibrant, legible and inclusive public realm creating a series of distinct spaces each with its own function and character. The proposed scheme will provide a new direct pedestrian and cycle route through the site linking the train station in the south west with Anglia Ruskin University and New Street to the north east. This route delivers a key design objective in improving permeability in this part of the City Centre. A key element of the Landscape Strategy has been to ensure that the new link is clearly legible; the design solution has been to delineate the route with curvilinear lines of blue block paving with changes in direction at key movement nodes defined by radiating splashes of blue block paving. A new urban garden featuring Italian Cypress will form the principal communal amenity space in the heart of the development. A dynamic triangular shaped piazza will provide a commercial focus for the scheme in the south western part of the site and feature active commercial frontages and opportunities for tables and chairs to spill out onto the south facing side of the piazza.
The planning committee unanimously approved the proposals and the project is progressing to implementation on site.