“Early assessment of site constraints is key to avoiding development delays”

Residents have moved into the first built phase of a new residential development off Arnold’s Way in Yatton, North Somerset, blissfully unaware that their move-in date could have been much later without the early involvement of engineers in the development.

Although this was a Greenfield site with no significant undulations or slopes, Clarkebond’s assessment of the constraints of the proposed development site identified a number of issues which could have caused problems further down the line.  The assessment looked at flood risk, utilities, ground conditions and highway constraints.  Clarkebond’s early involvement enabled the issues to be identified and mitigated at an early stage of the pre-planning process.

A first inspection of the Environment Agency (EA) flood map for the area indicated that the site fell within a flood plain and therefore would be subject to planning concerns. Clarkebond began discussions with the North Somerset Levels Internal Drainage Board and was able to establish with the authority that flooding in the area does not occur in line with the EA flood model and that the predicted water levels would be within acceptable parameters.  Early engagement with the authority meant that this issue was dealt with well in advance of the planning application.

The utilities investigation revealed a shallow-lying gas main through the site which posed an issue for foul and surface water drainage.  Although it was possible to run the foul water drainage over the gas main, an alternative solution had to be sought for the surface water drainage.  The design solution involved the construction of a series of ditches and rhymes, positioned to maximise the available build space, which led into a series of pipes, taking the surface water underground to a local river.

Examination of the road networks indicated that site access would be via a nearby roundabout.  The roundabout was not large enough to take another arm, so early applications were made to the Local Authority for an agreement to extend the roundabout and add the access road off it.

“Early assessment of site constraints is key to avoiding development problems,” comments Max Thurgood, Head of Bristol Office. “Tackling all these issues at the earliest stage ensured that they caused no unforeseen planning hurdles and the ensuing delays.”

In addition to the Constraints Assessment, Clarkebond provided a range of services for the development including ground investigation; Flood Risk Assessment; planning submission design; drainage strategy; highways design including the roundabout, applications for onsite roads via section 38, drainage via a section 104 agreement and foundation designs.

Chestnut Way, a 150 Bloor Homes development, is due for completion by the end of 2017.