REC Ltd has supported remediation works for a £28 million mixed-use regeneration development that will transform an old industrial site on the banks of River Irwell.
The site has lain vacant for nearly a decade since the 2005 closure of the world famous Hall’s cough sweet factory. Prior to any works being carried out, it was widely dominated by dilapidated industrial buildings and invasive, non-native flora. Due to its river bank location, the area was classified as a ‘Flood Risk Zone’, and asbestos hazards had culminated from illegal demolition works that were carried out in 2009.
Property Alliance Group secured planning permission to demolish the severely vandalised buildings to make way for 258 high-quality residential units, industrial space, and luxury office accommodation. The regeneration of the area will ultimately boost local economy and provide many benefits for the wider community. Anglers and canoeists will now also have access to the river.
National environmental consultancy REC Ltd acted as Geo-Environmental Consultants on the site, and provided a comprehensive range of assessments and services throughout the project. They also undertook full-time supervision of remediation enabling works. These incorporated all major specialist areas.
Groundwater and Soil
Previous findings had identified that the area was at high risk of PAH contaminants. REC was commissioned to undertake an extensive review of the erstwhile data, as well as to carry out detailed site investigations. The new findings revealed that the impacted soils would not require the large scale remedial works that were recommended by the previous assessors. REC’s analysis proved that the soils and groundwater were at no risk and this saved the client up to £50,000 in additional works.
Land and Air
Illegal demolitions that took place in 2009 had distributed hazardous asbestos fibres throughout the site which was strewn with rubble and relic foundations. REC primarily carried out a post demolition asbestos survey and managed the safe removal of the asbestos. Rubble was then eradicated and large scale soil inversions took place. Provision of site won sub-soil to the residential developers greatly reduced the amount of importing costs.
A detailed earthworks package was developed to ensure that import and export was kept to a minimum. Also, by using all available granular sources on site beneath plot footprints, this allowed for vibro stone treatment to be implemented.
The site’s proximity to the river meant design and implementation of a flood alleviation scheme was required. A widened river bank and flood plain has now been introduced, as well as the site being raised approximately1.5 metres. This has resulted in the development being lifted out of the ‘Flood Risk Zone’ by using a cost effective and pragmatic solution.
Prior to any works, the site was largely dominated by invasive vegetation. A management programme insured that hefty removal costs were cut, by relocating the large amounts of Giant Hogweed and Knotweed to a supervised plot for a three year treatment and eradication programme.
Three new habitats were then established to make way for a ‘wildlife corridor’. This enhanced the sites biodiversity and provided the proposed mixed use development with a significant area of recreation and amenity. The new habitats now target a range of endangered ground nesting birds as well as mammals such as bats, otter and badger and a range of invertebrates.
REC’s design and management of this new Public Open Space has added amenity value to the development and, in turn, helped Greater Manchester and Bury Council meet their Natural Environment Targets.
REC has an excellent record of previous dealings with Bury Council. This helped to establish the local authority’s confidence that was required to progress with the initial development. Throughout the project, REC regularly liaised with Bury Council and provided them with updates. This meant all regulatory sign offs were streamlined and prevented delays. These meetings also helped secure the client, Property Alliance Group, approval for each contract sector by sector, which ultimately saved costs and allowed developments to commence.
REC also nurtured a good working relationship with the local community. Residents were able to meet with REC representatives to contribute feedback, so that any misgivings or complaints were rectified before they were reported.