Royal Mail Site, Chelmsford

Retail & Town Centres

Firstplan successfully negotiated planning permission for the redevelopment of the Royal Mail sorting office on the edge of Chelmsford City Centre for a mixed use scheme comprising a new Waitrose foodstore of 2,224 sq m (net), 37 residential units, 630 sq m of commercial floorspace, a new community centre, landscaping works and highway improvements. The scheme will significantly enhance the vitality and viability of the northern end of the City Centre by removing the warehouse buildings and providing a new mixed use development, including a much needed new foodstore, with active frontage to the street.

In order to achieve planning permission, it was necessary to overcome the planning policy conflict with a site allocation within the City Centre Area Action Plan which sought a residential led redevelopment of the site, demonstrate that the retail element was in accordance with the NPPF retail policy criteria (sequential approach and impact) and achieve a balance between operator requirements and design policies, including ensuring that buildings address the street frontage. This resulted in an innovative and flexible approach to the design of the Waitrose store, which will be built on ‘stilts’ with the building fronting Victoria Road and car parking at ground level.

  • Michael Mills,
    020 3096 7004