The proposed development site, outlined in red on the map pictured below, is currently a derelict brownfield site, and covers an area of approximately 6.6 hectares (16.3 acres). The former Grampian Foods factory, which ceased production in June 2006, was previously located at the site. The partly dilapidated commercial buildings have since been demolished and the land is now flat. The site is located off Station Road, to the north of Elmswell train station.
Information about the site we need to take into account
Demolition and Remediation
Initial site investigation on this site highlighted areas of contamination consisting of TPH (Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons), PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) and asbestos. The site has now been fully demolished and the areas identified within the original site investigation have been remediated by excavating the contamination out of the ground and disposing of it off site to a licensed tip. For the areas where significant contamination was found, we are proposing to provide a clean capping material which will be validated upon completion in agreement with the Local Authority and the NHBC.
Highways and Transport
A Transport Assessment in relation to the impacts of the proposed development was undertaken as part of the outline planning permission and was completed in accordance with the national standards and consultations with Suffolk County Council. The findings revealed that existing junctions are working within capacity. The site will be accessed by the construction of a new junction formed within Station Road. The proposed junction will be sufficiently designed to allow for a link for a possible relief road in the future.
The site is well located with a range of local facilities situated within walking distance – including a local primary school, shops and public houses. There are also good links to public transport with a railway station and bus stops nearby.
The proposed foul drainage for this development will discharge via gravity to a new pumping station constructed on the site. From this a new rising main will be constructed to discharge into the existing Anglian Water foul water manhole positioned within Station Road Industrial Estate. This point of connection has been provided by Anglian Water following our consultations.
Flood Risk and Surface Water Drainage
The proposed development is located within a Flood Zone 1 as defined by the Environment Agency and is therefore considered to have a low probability of flooding. The surface water drainage is proposed to discharge via a gravity system to a newly-constructed attenuation basin to the north of our development. The flows will be restricted from our site to mimic the existing runoff from the development by use of a flow control with sufficient storage being provided within the attenuation basin. The system will be designed to deal with all rainfall events up to the 1 in 100 year event, plus an allowance of 30% for climate change with the sewers being offered for adoption by Anglian Water.
An archaeological evaluation was carried out on site in accordance with a written scheme of investigation. The aim of the evaluation was to determine the location, date, extent, character, condition and quality of any archaeological remains on the site, to assess the significance of any such remains in a local, regional, or national context, as appropriate, and to assess the potential impact of the development proposals on the site’s archaeology. Five 40m and six 20m long trial trenches were excavated and recorded on 1st December to the 3rd December 2014, totalling 320m.
From this investigation, three ditches were identified, of which one was Roman date, with the other two undated. The site archive will be deposited at Suffolk County Council Archaeology Store. It is possible that other medieval, and possibly earlier, remains were once present but were subsequently removed by the later redevelopments of the Former Grampian Foods site.
An Environmental Noise Assessment was prepared in support of the outline planning application to establish the noise conditions across the site. The assessment found that the dominant noise sources are road traffic, railway noise and the external plant associated to M&J Seafood.
Surveys of the site have been carried out and identified trees which should be retained. The surveys also confirmed that no Tree Preservation Orders are in force on site, and conclude there is a significant window for development with little impact on trees. A tree protection scheme will ensure retained trees are not damaged during construction.
Ecology surveys carried out on site identified the presence of bats, great crested newts, reptiles and birds. Bats were found to be roosting on site although in low numbers. A bat licensee was therefore present to supervise the demolition of buildings where bats were present. A number of alternative roosting sites in the form of bat boxes will be provided as part of a compensation strategy. Great crested newts were recorded on site in terrestrial habitat however water bodies on site were not considered ideal for breeding activity. A trapping exercise has been implemented with translocation to a pond located within the receptor site to the north west.
Surveys also identified a small breeding population of slow worms on site.
A small scale capture and translocation exercise to the receptor site has been carried out which included the creation of refugia piles and hibernacular. A number of bird species, including a single barn owl, were also found to be present on site. Building demolition and site clearance works was therefore commenced outside the bird nesting season (late February to late August). Bird boxes – including boxes suitable for a barn owl – will be installed as compensatory measures.
Hawk End Lane Railway Crossing
As part of the outline planning permission for the proposed development a written condition was put in place to ensure that steps are taken to mitigate the risk posed by the probable increase in use of an existing pedestrian level crossing between the site and the footpath network at Hawk End Lane.
The crossing, which is situated to the south of the site, has been in existence since the railway cut off the end of Hawk End Lane. It is part of the Public Right of Way (PROW) network, meaning it is protected in law and subject to strict legislation.
At present, the crossing is used very little by pedestrians; however there are concerns that when 190 new homes are built next to it, many more people may start using the crossing. The main concern is that the crossing is not gated – users simply look to see if a train is coming and make a decision as to when it is safe to cross.
Assessments have been carried out to identify possible solutions and Network Rail has outlined the following two options to be considered:
1. Construction of a footbridge behind Meadow Court
2. Divert the footpath to Parnell Lane underpass
While the decision is ultimately the responsibility of Mid Suffolk District Council, Taylor Wimpey is committed to providing £1.3million towards the Hawk End Lane footpath level crossing mitigation scheme as part of the outline planning permission and S106 agreement. A separate planning application to satisfy this condition will be submitted in the near future.
Constraints and Opportunities
Before we start designing a new scheme, we complete an assessment of the site and the surrounding area as they are at the moment. We record those features we will need to take into account in our design. All of the relevant considerations, whether they fix the way our scheme will have to be designed or give us a real opportunity to make the most of a particular feature, are shown below.