Chelmer Mead, Essex

Chater Homes and Home Group
OPA and CfS, Different scales of development, layers of the masterplan

Chater Homes’ 55.2 hectare site lies east of Little Dunmow and north of Flitch Green in Essex. The proposed masterplan shows a new mixed use development comprising:


  • up to 750 homes
  • a village centre including up to 1000 sq m gross for retail (Class A1- A5) use
  • up to 500 sq m gross of floorspace for community use and / or a GP’s surgery (Class D)
  • up to 300 sq m gross of office floorspace (Class B1)
  • a primary school (Class D1) with early years and childcare provision
  • public open space, playing fields (including pavilion and car park) and landscaping
  • highways improvements, enhanced public transport
  • water storage bodies and sustainable drainage
  • associated ancillary development


The design challenge was to create a garden village development appropriate for a variety of 21st century lifestyles adjacent to a small rural village of historic buildings, the majority of which are listed. Bluepencil analysed the growth of the village and its surroundings from 1875 to present and then produced a series of images projecting how the growth of the village would have continued over time, albeit accelerated, to finish with the development proposal itself.


The masterplan was created through an iterative process, working with a team of specialist consultants to create a number of ‘layers’. Each layer had to fit perfectly with the all the other layers in order to achieve a masterplan that worked in terms of access, movement, landscape sustainable drainage, play areas, density and storey heights, whilst also creating four distinct character areas.


At the presentation to the planning committee at Uttlesford District Council one of the members remarked,  ‘This is exactly the right approach to masterplanning, all architects should take a leaf out of your book.’

Bluepencil understand our thinking and requirements as developers yet interprets them in such a way as to impress the Local Authority at both officer and Councillor level.

Ian Chater

Chater Homes

Project sheet