BWB has played a key role in the acquisition and planning stages of a £100m mixed-use development at the former Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire. The proposals from Clowes Developments and Graftongate will see 400 houses, shops, a hotel, pub, sustainable drainage and landscaping developed at the 47-hectare site. We were commissioned to advise on the acqusition of the site and subsequently provided civil engineering and environmental services for the design team in order to help deliver a feasible and commercially viable scheme.
Initially BWB validated the demolition materials arising from power station buildings and reviewed the decontamination of parts of the site on behalf of Clowes and Graftongate. We then managed the complex negotiations between the various planning authorities who had different visions for the site and requirements for infrastructure improvements. Our transport design team came up with measures to mitigate the impact of the development on the congested road network which secured Highway Authority approval. Additional BWB inputs included a transport assessment, travel planning, earthworks, flood risk, hydraulic modelling and drainage strategies.
Traffic congestion is an existing problem in the local area while the highway capacity at the site itself is constrained by a railway and its crossing points. With over 8,000 new homes planned in the wider area there were concerns that the local road network would not be able to cope. The masterplanning of the development has involved incorporating the restrictive infrastructure requirements of Oxfordshire County Council and the urban design requirements of the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils. Their strategic infrastructure improvements included a new railway crossing and road bridge that would link homes at Great Western Park with the eastern section of the A4130.
As the site lies on land covered by two district councils, it was essential that all the planning authorities, Highway Authority and the Client would be satisfied with the plans. BWB acted as a middleman between these stakeholders, actively encouraging each body to negotiate with each other in order to come to a consensus. Managing the expectations of timing and level of contributions to this strategic scheme has been a key challenge.
BWB proved to the Highways Authority that the offsite impact of the new development could be mitigated without the road bridge in place. Our mitigation solutions including junction improvements and a segregated left turn lane and these options secured the authority's approval. This solution enables the Client to develop the site without being restricted by the delivery of the bridge.
The outline planning application was submitted to Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils in the summer of 2015 with an outcome expected in early 2016. If consent is granted it is hoped that construction will begin later that same year.