Chelmsford Cathedral Enhancement Plan proposal


We are working with Chelmsford City Council on plans to improve the Cathedral precinct, a highly significant public space at the heart of the city centre. We have developed some plans and are now looking for public feedback.

The Cathedral precinct, for the purposes of this study, includes the area defined by the buildings fronting onto the churchyard in New Street, Church Lane, Church Street and the back of Tindal Square, also including the approach spaces off of Duke Street, adjacent Shire Hall, the Chapter House and the courtyard adjacent the Cathedral Offices.

The Cathedral is a thriving religious and cultural centre for the city, which makes use of the outside space during events such as graduation ceremonies. The churchyard acts as an important public open space and thoroughfare, with the space maintained by the City Council and is crossed by a number of public footpaths. There are pedestrian routes to the Chapter House to the northwest and the Cathedral Offices to the east. The area north of the Cathedral building is used to house the builders’ compound during repair works. Within this space, there is also an area where in the long term there is potential for a further extension.

The Cathedral is classified as a Grade I listed building, with a number of the monuments within the churchyard classified as Grade II listed. Shire Hall, located to the south, is Grade II* listed. The buildings to the south and east of the precinct are Grade II listed. The whole site is within the Chelmsford Central Conservation Area.

The churchyard is currently well maintained with colourful planting schemes, but lacks a ceremonial route to the west end and a focal public space. It has a mixed quality of surfacing materials and street furniture and some inappropriate trees. There is therefore an opportunity to enhance the space, providing an improved area for public enjoyment and a befitting setting for the Cathedral.

The current proposals include the following:

  • Enlarged public spaces to the west and south of the Cathedral and a new public space to the east.
  • Improved street furniture would be provided throughout. Two areas of cycle parking added.
  • Landscaping would be simplified with the removal of non-native species and an informal layout to allow the Cathedral to be the primary feature.
  • New tree planting and soft landscaping.
  • Improved hard surfacing throughout, including the Duke Street entrance.
  • Existing routes to be maintained, with the main thoroughfare between Tindal Square and New Street to be widened.
  • The dangerous pedestrian access on New Street to be closed off.
  • Existing steps toward Waterloo Lane widened and a new path created towards the south porch.
  • Alter the northern boundary wall with a new ceremonial route to the west door.
  • An infrequent ceremonial vehicle route would be created from New Street via Church Street.

You can view the detailed plans at the bottom of this web page. For more information please visit the Chelmsford City Council website.

We have worked with landscape consultants to drawn up the proposals, with input from key stakeholders. We are now looking for your views on the plan.

The consultation closes at 11.59pm on Monday 20 February 2023.

You can tell us your views by:

Emailing: heritage@chelmsford.gov.uk

Writing to: Chelmsford City Council, Economic Development and Implementation, Civic Centre, Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JE

Calling: 01245 606826 

We will use the feedback to finalise the plans. We will then apply for the relevant permissions, and secure funding from a range of sources.

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