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'Welcome end to years of uncertainty' – building of new homes starts at long-term vacant site

PUBLISHED: 13:22 27 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:22 27 September 2018

Generic image of builders working. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Generic image of builders working. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The first bricks have been laid in the building of a new 26 home development in Chelmsford, resolving doubt about a long-term vacant site’s future.

Moulsham Lodge, the former home to a community organisation, is being developed by Essex Housing, Essex County Council’s in-house developer.

Essex Housing is trying to tackle the housing shortage by pledging £42million over the next five years to develop unused, taxpayers’ land into much needed affordable and private housing across the county.

The site at Waltham Glen was home to the Moulsham Lodge Community Trust (MLCT) but, after the centre closed in 2005, it has been sitting vacant.

In March last year, the council bought a former police station nearby before handing a long-term lease to MLCT, putting an end to years of uncertainty and freeing up the Waltham Glen site for redevelopment.

Gagan Mohindra, cabinet member for economic development at Essex County Council, said: “I am delighted to have laid the first bricks at Moulsham Lodge, signalling the start of work at this fantastic development.

“This site is a perfect example of how Essex Housing is striving to build homes our county so desperately needs, while using a taxpayer-owned site that has been empty and unused for so many years.

“It is imperative that public sector land doesn’t remain vacant or fall into disrepair.

“This innovative development will ensure the long-term future of a much-loved community centre and free up surplus land for more homes, which will in turn boost the economy.”

Mark Springett, a Chelmsford city councillor as well as chief executive and chairman of MLCT, said: “This is a welcome end to years of uncertainty, both for the vacant site and for the community organisation that rose from the ashes of the derelict and demolished community building.

“It is a pleasure to see the work starting at Moulsham Lodge, this development will provide more, much needed homes in the city.”

The apartments at Moulsham Lodge are due for completion by October 2019 and will offer both private and specialist housing.

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