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Great Dunmow Town Design Statement - Design guidance for enhancing and protecting the character of Dunmow.

Guidelines For New Development

General recommendations for providing a strong evidence base and policy framework, for enhancing the existing fabric, for dealing with traffic and for addressing global warming have been set out in the preceding sections and will not be repeated here.

The Setting and surroundings of Dunmow

The TDS has drawn attention to many aspects of the setting of the town – that is the edge of the built up area and the wider landscape. These contribute to the character of Dunmow in a very significant way. Whilst there are a few ‘protected’ areas such as site of Nature Conservation Importance on the whole this setting would be considered as simply countryside or agricultural land. It is therefore important to identify those aspects of it which should be retained, protected or enhanced in some way if development were to take place.

The Landscape Character Assessment published by UDC View Link

confirms and supports much of the assessment set out above.  It recognises the value of the landscape fringe in the north, east south and west of the town in ways that reflect the above analysis.

  1. Robust evidence based landscape and character assessments should be carried out by developers where significant development is proposed.
  2. The approaches to the town from the north to Parsonage Down and from the east to Church End should be treated with particular care
  3. The views from the Causeway and Beaumont Hill north eastwards out should be protected from development
  4. The floodplain and the setting of the Chelmer should be protected and enhanced throughout the town
  5. The views of the Church Tower and of the Clock House should be taken into account and protected
  6. The rural character of St Edmunds Lane and eastwards should be protected and enhanced
  7. The A120 by pass should receive significantly more landscape enhancement
  8. A landscape framework is urgently needed for the Chelmsford Road, its junction with the A 120 and the A120 roundabout
  9. development should not encroach into the noise footprint of the A 120
  10. the mature trees and parkland to the north of the A120 should be protected from development
  11. development should not encroach or threaten the Olives Wood and Ash Grove woodlands
  12. The open landscape to the west, west of the proposed Woodside Way should be protected
  13. The footpath network to the west of the town should be restored and significantly enhanced

The entrances to a town are very important not only because they create the first impression to visitors. The approaches to Dunmow are generally rural in character and the edge of the town is relatively distinct with no extensive ‘ribbon ‘development. The exception perhaps is the Chelmsford Road which is fronted by the two industrial estates on the east and by a growing conglomeration of buildings of widely differing styles and quality including the new police station, on the west. 

The East - The Broadway (B1057)
The approach from the east is attractive, over a raised landscape giving extensive views over the town. The protection of the agricultural landscape to the North West is especially important.

The Braintree Road
The approach along the old Braintree Road is attractive and rural in character. The protection of the open landscape to the south, over the Chelmer Valley is especially important.

The South
The approach from Barnston is obviously marred by the by–pass but is otherwise open and rural in character but at the junction with the Chelmsford Road there is significant intrusion from poorly designed development fronting Chelmsford Road but intruding into the general landscape. The rural landscape to the east of the old A120 is poorly maintained and contains the sewerage works and is perhaps at risk from sporadic development.
The petrol filling station is very intrusive and fronts the Hoblongs Industrial Estate and the relatively new Travel Lodge which is poorly designed and contributes little to the enhancement of this area. The new police station is of modern but undistinguished design and sits awkwardly alongside the above collection of buildings. To the east of Chelmsford Road the two industrial estates overlook but are softened by a green verge and hedge. However the buildings are poorly designed and the clutter and completely indiscriminate parking detract seriously from the appearance of the road.
Whatever occurs eventually on the land to the west, it is essential that the opportunity is taken to compensate for the poor visual environment and to attempt to create an attractive and coherent approach.

The West
The approach from the Rodings is again defined essentially by the A120 but the cutting and bridging over reduces its visual impact and the edge is well treed and rural in character with unobtrusive houses along the Ongar Road. The approach from Bishops Stortford and the Canfields despite the influence of the A1 20 and the complex junction is rural in character with extensive views northwards to the Eastons and a tall green edge to the south. The West Wood is a site of special scientific interest and it is vital that the setting is preserved and that the woodland is not encroached in any way.

From the north the approach to Dunmow rises quite steeply and presents an attractive panorama rural in character with sweeping views to the east over the Chelmer. The roundabout to the still awaited western by pass represented a damaging intrusion with urban lighting scheme into what was a purely rural area and every effort will be required once the road does open to attempt to blend the road with the landscape using planting and other means.

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