A symposium was held at Anglia Ruskin University to discuss the future of the ex Marconi New Street site. The event was held under the auspices of “Changing Chelmsford” and was, appropriately, in the Marconi Building at the university.
The symposium was divided into three parts. The first comprised presentations by Barry Shaw, advisor to Essex County Council, and Roger Estop from Chelmsford City Council planning. Barry outlined what he called the heritage triangle formed by the Anne Knight Building, a former Quaker Chapel; the 1912 Marconi building itself, and the grade 2* listed Shire Hall. Just outside this triangle is the railway station and Anlia Ruskin University campus. Barry’s submission was that redevelopment of the Marconi site would open up this part of the city and draw the university campus closer to the centre. Roger Estop then gave a brief description of the buildings on the Marconi site.
The second part of the event was the visit to the New Street site itself. This was, unfortunately, very restricted in scope, partly because some areas had been boarded up, partly because vandalism had exposed asbestos in various places and partly because the dreaded Health & Safety would not allow anybody upstairs. Nevertheless, some pictures were taken and these are included at the bottom of this article.
We then returned to the university campus for the third session which was a series of reports and ideas for the site from the groups that had visited. Most of the ideas had been rehearsed many times before with Ashwells and others and in the present economic climate are unlikely to be viable so although Changing Chelmsford has done a good job of raising the profile of the site and the problems it presents it seems unlikely that development will take place in the near future.