Transportation helps Warfield Park Homes win Planning Appeal

4 10 2017

The Stilwell Partnership were pleased to be able to make a key Transportation contribution towards the success of this Appeal by Warfield Park Homes of Bracknell.

A Planning Application locating up to 82 mobile homes on their adjoining land, with suitable alternative green space (SANG), and informal open space, together with access improvements, landscape and diversity measures had been refused by Bracknell Forest Borough Council.

Warfield Park Homes appealed and on 27 September 2017, the Planning Inspector published the decision.  The Appeal was allowed and planning permission granted subject to conditions and a section 106 agreement.

One of the main issues considered by the Inspector was whether the proposed development would be in a sustainable location in respect of proximity to everyday services and facilities.

Warfield Sustainability Map

Transportation issues were carefully considered by the Inspector and described at length within the decision notice.  The Inspector considered the available facilities on site and the needs of future residents to leave the site for education and employment.

The Inspector considered the Stilwell Partnership’s Transportation Assessment (TA) and Sustainability Drawing in the context of current Planning Policies.  Referring to Providing for Journeys on Foot and Manual for Streets guidance, the TA had referred to acceptable walking distances and available public transport to reach off site facilities.  The TA also included a trip analysis to indicate the likely traffic generated by the development.

The Inspector concluded that “Whilst not well-connected, neither would (the site) be in a completely unsustainable location with no choice of transport mode or give rise to greatly increased car travel. In these respects, it would be consistent with the development plan.

The Stilwell Partnership were pleased to be part of the Project Team providing Transportation, Drainage and Sustainable Energy input to the proposed development.

The Inspector also considered the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the countryside and commented “whilst the proposed development would encroach into the countryside, being similar in form and appearance to the existing development at Warfield Park, it would not be unduly incongruous or uncharacteristic”, and that “The biodiversity improvements over the remainder, and considerably larger part, of the appeal site would enhance its character.

The Project Team was led by GVA on behalf of Warfield Park Homes and included Woolf Bond Planning Consultants; HDA Enviro, Landscaping and Ecology; and legal services by Tozers Solicitors and 39 Essex Chambers.

 

 

 

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Derbyshire Development Wins Planning

12 07 2017

The Stilwell Partnership were pleased to help their long-standing client, Tapton Estates, win Outline Planning Approval for the proposed development of Derwentside Industrial Park, Belper, Derbyshire.

Amber Valley Borough Council unanimously approved the Application on 11 July 2017.

The scheme comprised the demolition and clearance of existing industrial buildings and re-use of the 6-ha site for 136 residential units.  The proposals also included access improvements and associated works.

Belper Tapton Master Plan

The Stilwell Partnership, with colleagues from the Patrick Parsons Group, put together a comprehensive package of technical assessments addressing many of the contentious issues and potential financial challenges facing development of the site:

The Transportation Assessment addressed potential future Traffic Impact and the long-term sustainability of the site.

The Travel Plan Framework provided an overall strategy to encourage sustainable transport measures; to increase walking, cycling, use of public transport and encourage more efficient car-use.

The Geo-Environmental Assessment examined the geotechnical issues on the site including ground conditions, potential contamination, and the building foundation requirements.

The Utility Constraints Assessment ensured there was adequate service capacity for future development without major investment in utility diversions.

The Flood Risk Assessment and Drainage Strategy confirmed that there was minimal flood risk on the site and that a foul and surface water drainage system was feasible within the capacity of local network.

The Noise Assessment considered the impact of noise from nearby roads and suggested mitigation measures that could be incorporated into future development.

On this proposed development, the Stilwell Partnership worked closely with the other project team members; David Lock Architects, FPCR Environment and Design Ltd and Rigby and Co, Commercial Property Agents.

If you would like to know more about these individual reports, or how we can deliver a successful one-stop package of services for your development, please phone our office on 0333 700 401 or email us

 





Nick Stilwell, Stilwell Partnership’s founder, celebrates 25th anniversary

24 05 2017

In May 2017, Nick Stilwell of the Stilwell Partnership celebrated 25 years in business. The Surrey based practice of consulting engineers has always “punched above its weight”, and over the years has made a major contribution to the disciplines of road safety, transportation, and highway engineering.

NJS Profile pic

Stilwell’s first client proposed a major development on a site in Holmethorpe. The site was locked within a triangle of busy rail lines with highway poor access.  Substantial infrastructure improvements, including a new rail bridge, were required to open the site for much needed housing.

To reduce the construction costs and potentially improve the viability of the development, the Stilwell practice introduced the traditionally risk-averse British Railways to a popular Swedish technique of rapid rail bridge construction.  This bridge construction technique has subsequently been adopted and widely used for many new rail bridges throughout the UK.

The Holmethorpe project was to play a substantial part in the growth and development of the practice.  For the next 20 years, the company progressed the project from Public Inquiry to Planning Consent and then through detailed design and construction, to completion.

Also in the 1990s, the District and Boroughs of Surrey had responsibility for the traffic management, road safety and highway engineering.  To improve efficiency, the Stilwell practice offered to take on their staff and provide a shared engineering resource for these Authorities.  This successful arrangement provided essential engineering services to several Boroughs including Surrey Heath, Elmbridge and also Surrey County Council.

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In this role, the practice wrestled with the worsening problem of traffic congestion and delays at busy or complicated roundabouts.  The conventional approach of building yet more roads or larger junctions was not a sustainable solution.  Therefore, the practice looked at new ways of reducing congestion by guiding motorists through the junction, quickly and safely, from the approach to their exit.

Experimenting with white lining and surfacing, the practice developed the Spiral road markings technique.  Initially trialled at Camberley’s Meadows interchange in 1995, the technique was so successful it was adopted as good design practice by the Department of Transport.

Spiral road markings continue to be used throughout the UK to reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety.  Many road junctions constructed today could not operate efficiently without that pioneering work by the Stilwell practice.

West wales airport

Responding to the requirements of public and private sector clients, the practice offered an increasing number of civil and municipal engineering services.

The practice was appointed civil engineer for the design and supervision of West Wales Airport improvement.  Part funded by the Welsh Parliament, this prepared the airport to become a centre of excellence for the development and operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, (Drones).

In the summer of 2007, areas of the UK were subjected to the worst flooding for many years.  The Stilwell Partnership produced a strategy for Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, an area severely hit by the floods.  Using CAD systems, historic flood information from different agencies was combined to reveal weak spots in the surface water drainage network.

The practice continues to advise local authorities, developers, and parish councils on the potential impact of Flood Risk and flood alleviation measures.

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Most recently, the practice played a key role designing the highway junction infrastructure for the award-winning Pont Briwet road rail bridge in North Wales.

The Stilwell Partnership continues to make a significant contribution to Road Safety.  Nick Stilwell is a member of the Parliamentary Advisory group on Transport Safety, and the Association of Road Safety Officers.  In 2009, the Association presented the practice with the “Award for Outstanding Contribution”.

The Stilwell Partnership continues to promote good practice by sponsoring the Southern Region of the Institute of Highway Engineers.  In addition, Stilwell Road Safety, a not-for-profit venture, aspires to introduce a culture of Road safety from early school days throughout childhood and older to combat the increasing number of road deaths in the 17-25 age bracket.

The practice has been involved in many high profile and prestigious private and public projects over this 25-year history, and looks forward to meeting the challenges of the future.  In 2016, the Stilwell Partnership merged with a like-minded group of practices, the Patrick Parsons Group.





Challenging Housing Development in Horley Gets Planning Consent

6 01 2017

Despite setbacks during the Planning process, perseverance pays off.  At the end of May 2014, WSP Architecture & Planning of Reigate submitted a Planning Application for a development of up to 46 high quality dwellings in Horley, Surrey. The development was to be located on land at the rear of an existing cul-de-sac, requiring highway access between existing houses.

The Stilwell Partnership were appointed to provide the following specialist engineering services for the Planning Application:

A Flood Risk Assessment & Drainage Strategy.  Developed in full consultation with the local drainage officer, the strategy ensured that the site complied with policy for restricting and attenuating surface water run-off, and reduced the risk of flooding in the wider area.  This was achieved through tactical spatial planning and widening of watercourses to provide additional flood plain storage in the west of the site, an area subject to historic flooding.

A Transportation Assessment and additional Highway design services.  The Transportation Assessment reported that the site was in a sustainable location with good links to public transport, shops, and employment opportunities.  The highway design proposed a 5.5m width carriageway with 1.8m wide footways on either side from the cul-de-sac to serve the new residential properties.  This also included improvements to the lane, a small roundabout and other sightline enhancements.

The Stilwell Partnership reports and design proposals addressing Flood Risk, Drainage and Transportation were accepted by the Local Authority without comment.  Despite this, in July 2015, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council rejected the Planning Application referring to Planning Policy issues.

An Appeal was submitted in January 2016, heard in October, and in November, perhaps about 3 years after the development was first conceived, the Planning Inspector allowed the Appeal.

The Stilwell Partnership are pleased to be associated with this successful outcome.

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New Marriott Hotel, Cable Street, New Cross, City of Manchester

13 10 2016

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The Stilwell Partnership supported the successful Planning Application by Axcel Property Developments Ltd for a new Marriott hotel providing multidisciplinary design advice including Highways & Transportation, Drainage, Low Carbon Energy and Noise Assessments.

A full Planning Application was submitted for a 172-bedroom hotel on the brownfield site of a surface car park in Cable Street in Manchester’s New Cross area. The development comprised the hotel (Class C1) with associated public realm, landscaping and other associated work. Proposals included a café bar, fitness centre, meeting rooms and associated servicing areas.

Our package of engineering design services included:

A Transport Statement of the development’s transportation impact on the local highway network. Our assessment considered sustainable forms of transport, including opportunities for walking and cycling, and the accessibility to public transport. We also considered servicing and emergency vehicle access. Our assessment concluded that the development could be accommodated without detriment to vehicular flows and road safety.

A Drainage Strategy, to minimise the impact on the wider area from surface and foul water from the proposed development. The very confined site limited the range of sustainable drainage options. An attenuation solution was identified to control the surface water run-off.

The Noise Assessment highlighted the application site was in a relatively noisy area impacted from road traffic noise on the A665 Addington Street.  Mitigation action proposed triple glazing to the bedrooms on the assumption the hotel would have air conditioning, to control internal noise levels to meet the standards set by WHO and BS 8233:2014.

Manchester City’s Planning Policies place great emphasis on decentralised energy schemes in the City centre. Using our CHP modelling software, the Sustainable Energy Assessment determined that the proposed development would be able to potentially contribute towards a future local district heating scheme and achieve an improvement of at least 15% CO2 emissions based on the predicted energy demand.

 

See the project sheet here: http://stilwell-ltd.co.uk/Projects/Cable_Street

 





Pont Briwet Transportation Improvement Scheme Wins the ICE Wales 2016 Innovation Award

17 08 2016

The annual Institution of Civil Engineers Wales Cymru Awards, celebrates outstanding engineering achievement across the country. The 2016 Awards Ceremony was held at the Marriott Hotel, Cardiff on Friday 17th June and was hosted by ICE President Sir John Armitt, ICE Wales Cymru Chairman David Rowlands and Chairman of the Judges’ Panel, Christopher Craufurd.  Award winners were announced to an audience of more than 250 industry leaders in Wales.

The winner of the Innovation Award was the Pont Briwet Transportation scheme, a £16.5 million rail and highway upgrade including the Pont Briwet viaduct over the Dwyryd estuary in Gwynedd. The scheme had already won the 2016 Transportation Project of the Year by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation of Wales at their annual dinner in January.

The new viaduct replaced a Grade 2 listed timber structure, carrying a single track railway and a single lane toll road. Originally constructed in the 1860s it required a major costly intervention to extend its life span. Speed restrictions of 20 mph were imposed on both road and rail traffic.

The viaduct is a pioneering bridge solution as the longest fully integrated road/rail viaduct in the UK.

A rail halt, again using precast concrete for the majority of the work, was constructed on the south side of the bridge and both approach roads were widened and improved throughout their entire length.

As member of the design team and a key associated organisation, The Stilwell Partnership provided highways and drainage aspects of the civil engineering design of the approach roads and adjacent junction improvements.  This included cycleways and pedestrian access to the new bridge and the rail station.  The civil engineering design included production of Construction Drawings and the Specification for Highway Works.

The judges liked the way in which the scheme fitted into the environment. The use of precast concrete for the majority of the structure resulted in a quicker and safer construction. The removal of single carriageway working and traffic lights has significantly improved the traffic capacity on an important tourist route.

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Flood Risk and Sustainable Drainage

27 01 2016

Urgent information for Property Developers, Architects and Planning Consultants

Repeated flood events make headlines and maintain pressure on government for action.  Flood events can occur at any time of the year and do so with increasing frequency. The latest areas affected being the North West of England and parts of Scotland over Christmas 2015/16.

Surface water (or pluvial) flooding is the most common type of flooding, and is caused by periods of intensive rainfall or of extended duration.

Sustainable Drainage (techniques that retain surface water runoff on the land where the rain falls) are regarded as an essential part of any planned development.  These techniques reduce the risk of “flash-flooding” which occurs when rainwater rapidly flows into the public sewerage and drainage systems.

The UK government has committed that SuDS (Sustainable urban Drainage Systems) will be a part of all major planning applications from April 6th 2015.

“Defra quietly published Sustainable drainage systems: non-statutory technical standards on the Gov.uk website on 23 March 2015”: (LASOO: The Local Authority SuDS Officer Organisation).  The four page document addressed mainly technical issues relating to the design, maintenance and operation of SuDS.

Previously in December 2014, the Department for Communities and Local Government had announced the intention to publish changes to Planning Guidance that will help to increase the use of the sustainable drainage systems.

In the absence of any specific Planning Guidance appearing to date, LASOO has published their own version, in the form of Practice Guidance, a 32 page document which may be downloaded here

The LASOO document emphasises that flooding and drainage issues should be considered at the earliest opportunity, to a greater level of detail, and at every stage of the Planning process.  The guidance dramatically increases the analysis and design to be covered by the Drainage Strategy; a summary document which sets out how the Developer will address the drainage and flood risk of the site.

The following table summarises the flood risk and drainage information that should be available to the Local Planning Authority at the various stages of the Planning Application.
drainage table

By demanding extended drainage information at the Outline Planning Application Stage, the increasing uptake of the LASOO guidance potentially adds to Developer‘s speculative costs.

The Stilwell Partnership has had extensive experience in the assessment of Flood Risk and the design of SUDS.  From early Flood Risk Assessments for the new PPS25 in 2006, we have produced numerous drainage strategies and detailed SuDS schemes for individual bespoke building projects and major developments.

For local authorities and parish councils we continue to provide a wide range of services.  In 2008, we advised Local Authorities on the implications of the Pitt Report of the Flooding of 2007.  We continue to support Local Authority development control departments by validating design calculations for Planning Applications.  We undertake the engineering design of watercourse improvements and flood alleviation measures.

For Planning Applications, The Stilwell Partnership can offer advice for prospective developments.  This would identify, at the earliest stage, the risks and costs associated with meeting the Local Planning Authority’s requirements.  Contact our offices to discuss your project.