Channels Residents Meeting (Update)

Please note this notice is on behalf of Channels Management Company Ltd, the organisation that looks after communal open spaces across the wider development and will therefore be of interest to all residents.

A Channels-wide residents meeting will take place on Thursday 28th January at 6.00pm and due to the current lockdown will be hosted online via Zoom. Residents are asked to submit questions in advance via e-mail no later than 10am on Monday 25th January 2021 to:

Residents@channelscic.co.uk

To join the meeting residents can click here or join on Zoom directly and input the meeting ID of 829 0881 8921 and passcode of 378799.

Full details of the agenda and further joining instructions can be found here.

Community News

Public Open Spaces
Following liaison between Ptarmigan Land and Marden Homes (who are responsible for delivering the site wide open spaces), construction of the strategic open space areas is now expected to commence in late September/early October this year and run through until the end of 2020.

Work on construction of the play areas on the area adjacent to Channels Drive is likely to commence in December 2019/January 2020 and be complete by Spring 2020. Final works to the village green will be completed before the end of October this year with pedestrianisation of Belsteads Farm Lane due for completion by January 2020 (subject to relevant Highway’s approvals).

There are however a series of works that the landowners are looking to accelerate by undertaking the work themselves, the detail of which is presently being finalised with Marden. This includes looking at where opportunities exist to enable early access/release of open space areas and more importantly in relation to safe access through to the retail units on Essex Regiment Way.

At present all timings noted above are indicative as the more detailed phasing continues to be worked up by Marden, the landowners and their technical team.

Neighbourhood Watch
We are in the process of arranging our own Channels ‘Cuppa with a Coppa’ event during the autumn. Channels Estates have kindly offered us a venue that we can use for the session and we are waiting for confirmation of availability from the local community policing team. The provisional date we are working to is Saturday 5th October between 3.00pm–5.00pm so note this time in your diaries!

The latest Chelmsford Crime Report, as at 18th August 2019, can be found via the Neighbourhood Watch Useful Information page or directly here. Unfortunately we have a mention on page 2.

Dog Fouling
As a result of a number of comments about Dog Fouling, there is some information here which includes how and where to report observed instances. Chelmsford City Council has a Public Spaces Protection Order in force which makes dog fouling an offence.

Fountain & Lake
We are currently exploring whether the significant drop in water level in our lake is as a direct result of Marden draining the lake at the front of the development which borders Essex Regiment Way. Given the level of rainfall that we have had (and observing many of the natural drainage areas in Beaulieu holding water), it is very odd that the water level of our lake remains lower than ever before.

It seems too much of a coincidence that the level in our lake started to drop at the exact point that Marden lowered the water levels in the front lake. We have logged the issue with POD Management and in addition Bellway will check the drainage gulleys that feed the lake from the adjacent roads to ensure there are no blockages as a result of the highways work that has been on-going for the last few weeks.

We do not want to end up with a shallow, stagnant pond and of course we would like our fountain switched on again!

Andrew Wright
Channels Residents Community Group

Community News

Parish Council Update
There is some more good news in that a further two residents, Chloe Tron & Michael Eve, have been co-opted onto Little Waltham Parish Council (following a formal application process). Together with Melanie Williamson, we now have three residents involved which will help give us a voice in what happens locally in what is a rapidly growing Parish.

We are still waiting for the outcome of our petition to amend parish boundaries so that the Bellway estate forms part of the Little Waltham Parish along with the rest of the wider Channels development. The City Council has been busy over the last couple of months preparing for both the City Council elections and the European Elections however we are due to receive an update imminently.

Site Wide Update
The village green area adjacent to the Channels complex will soon be ready for use by residents and as soon as confirmation is received, a notice will be posted on the website.

The landowner, land agent, developer and design company also met at the end of last week to discuss the construction plans for the public open spaces and information is awaited as to which areas will be made available for residents to access over the next few months. Again as soon as confirmation is received, the areas that can be used will be posted on the website.

Phase 1/2 Update
Bellway have advised that they will be leaving the site within the next month, although it may not be until the end of June. The central green open space between Eagle Rise & Aqua Verde will be landscaped and the nursery site will be prepared although as yet it is not clear how this will be left. There are still multiple highway snagging issues which need to be addressed and which are a cause for concern. These issues have been raised with both Bellway and local councillors.

Summer Community Event!
Following the success of the Christmas event (if a little damp), it has been suggested that residents get together and organise a summer event including a fete and if possible an open air cinema. The owners of the Channels complex are very keen to work with the community on this project and the new village green area will be an ideal location.

If you want to get involved in planning and running the event, click here!

Foot Passage from Channels

There have been on-going concerns raised by many residents during recent months about safe and appropriate foot passage off of the Channels development. Essex County Councillor John Aldridge has raised the issue with the City Council as a result of being contacted by both the Community Group and individual residents and the issue has also been followed up recently directly with one of our City Councillors.

A response has been received from the City Council which addresses two major concerns; (a) Pedestrian access from the Channels development to the shop at the Shell Petrol Filling Station, Costa Coffee etc. on Essex Regiment Way and (b) Pedestrian and cycle access to the Beaulieu development and its facilities.

The response has been summarised below for information however it does not address timescales, neither does it address the issue of negotiating the muddy unlit bridle path that links to the front on Beaulieu on the Essex Regiment Way side.

So, some good news with some clarification still required 🙂

Access to Retail Units on ERW
Channels Drive (the RDR) has been designed without footpaths and cyclepaths on highway safety grounds; this is due to the function of the route linking the Boreham Interchange with Essex Regiment Way and the volume of traffic it will eventually carry, once fully open.

The outline planning permission for the Channels development pre-dates the grant of planning permission for the petrol filling station and shop, Costa Coffee and McDonalds; consequently, the need for any footpath connection to this part of the Mid Essex Gravels site could not have been anticipated when the planning permission for Channels was granted.

The Council has recognised that several residents of the Channels development have been accessing the retail units by foot, walking along the grass verges to Channels Drive; clearly the road was not designed to accommodate this practice, nor is it something they wish to see continue in the future, particularly when the RDR is fully open.

The Council has been working with the Channels developer and their landscape architects on the layout and design of the public open spaces throughout the development and have now approved the details. As noted in a previous update there will be a footpath through the Local Park (proposed to the east of the Shell Garage), to address the issues which are occurring presently; this path will connect with a future controlled pedestrian crossing off Albatross Way (adjacent to the Croudace development) and tie in with an existing footpath opposite the Costa Coffee.

Residents will then be able to access the Shell shop, Costa Coffee and McDonalds, by using controlled crossing points on Channels Drive and Albatross Way and a path through the future Local Park. The new path, will be provided away from Channels Drive so that residents are not walking close to the road.

Access to Beaulieu Facilities
There are two footpath/cycle connections provided from Beaulieu, linking with two existing footpath/cyclepaths within Channels Phase 2 (off Niblick Green). The primary strategic footpath/cyclepath will be hard surfaced and lit whilst the other will have a gravel surface which will not be lit for ecological reasons although there will naturally be some light splay from the future adjacent residential parcels.

The North-South Greenway route provides a connection to the Channels development, allows all residents access to two areas of equipped play space at Beaulieu (nearing completion) and southwards to the neighbourhood centre and other facilities at Beaulieu.

Public Open Spaces

As noted in the last update, construction of the first of the site-wide public open spaces will begin soon and it will include a pathway to enable safe passage to the retail units on Essex Regiment Way.

As a result of a recent discussion with the key stakeholders responsible, this now includes the work up of plans for lighting to facilitate safer passage during hours of darkness.

The first public open space is highlighted on the image below:

We have been advised that the open space will include facilities for younger children, benches and walkways and it will eventually form part of a much bigger site-wide linked parkland space for the Channels community.

As construction time nears, the designers and landowner are keen to engage with the community in further developing the vision for this first open space. We have links with experts that can assist with advising on how the space can be developed for ‘all inclusive’ use however it is obviously of paramount importance to gather views from residents.

This is your chance as residents to get involved and help shape the vision of the community space being developed. We are very fortunate that the designers and the landowner are willing to involve us so we need to make the most of the opportunity!

If you have an idea or suggestion, fill in the form below and we will collate everything and share with the key stakeholders for consideration.

Please discuss with your friends and neighbours so that we can gather as much feedback as possible 🙂

If you leave your name & e-mail address, you may be contacted to discuss your suggestions in more detail. Your details will not be kept for any other purpose.