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Technical Appendix: North Place and Portland Street Development Brief

8. Appendix 2

8.1. The Environment Agency supports the principle of redevelopment at this site but wishes to make the following comments. The site is shown on our maps to be located in Flood Zone 1 which is the low flood risk zone, with less than a 1 in 1000 probability of fluvial flooding in any year. We would point out that the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) is yet to be undertaken, which assess all forms of flooding. There is a chance the SFRA could identify other forms of flooding affecting the site. However we anticipate that the site will be suitable for any development from a flood risk perspective. Regardless of the outcome of the SFRA the management of surface water flooding will be important.

8.2. Also we welcome that the SPD incorporates sustainable design principles and the provision of "beacon" sustainable solutions for this redevelopment.

Flood Risk
 

8.3. The site lies outside the flood plain of the River Chelt so the only issue from a flood risk perspective would be the management of the surface water drainage. A FRA in accordance with PPS 25 that addresses the risk of flooding from surface water run-off must support the planning application. We would encourage the use of sustainable drainage systems to be incorporated within the development. The intention to carry out a FRA which addresses surface water run-off for the development of this site should be incorporated within the development brief as this is a requirement of PPS25.

Land Contamination
 

8.4. We have no records for this site area for the type of previous land-use which existed. The brief refers to 'brownfield' land; from our local knowledge, this land was previously a residential area with possible commercial use. A full Desk Study should be carried out to determine a site history. No historic landfill data is available from our records for this area, but this does not mean that this area has not been land filled, as historically Cheltenham had many local clay and sand pits across the town which have been infilled with a variety of materials. This site is located on the Cheltenham Sand and Gravels a Minor aquifer, so there is a chance that this area has been locally quarried. We have no records of contaminated land at this site, but the local authority contaminated land officer should be able to confirm this further. Therefore, the Desk Study, Conceptual Model and Site Investigation will be required to support the planning application. The SPD should acknowledge this.

8.5. In terms of the parking options ... The 'underground' option may encroach into the Minor aquifer of the Cheltenham Sands which has a fairly shallow water table. This would mean that any development below the water table would need to consider tankering/ dewatering of the underground structure to reduce ingress of groundwater in the basement area. Sumps may also need to be incorporated into the basement to take any water away. This would be quite a challenge from an engineering point of view and very costly. An underground basement may also divert groundwater flows and affect any local abstractions in the area and flows to the River Chelt. Our concerns are that ground water should not be adversely affected and that any contamination is removed so there is no risk of creating pollution pathways. We recommend these matters are investigated prior to deciding upon the principle of underground parking. The SPD should reflect these constraints.

8.6. The documents listed (in original Section 5.2 - Panning and Related Applications) seem fairly high level and this reflects in the language used from the list (a) to (h). In our opinion (a) and (h) are very similar in content. We would prefer the wording in (h) as a 'land contamination assessment' is a standard requirement which would include: desk study, site investigation, risk assessment, remediation and validation. A land contamination assessment should confirm if the site is contaminated and then made suitable for use.

Biodiversity
 

8.7. The site is currently used as a car park covered by hard standing on the whole redevelopment area. By redeveloping this site we would advise you to seek opportunities to create more green space which would positively improve this part of town. We also strongly support that you incorporate the use of green roofs and walls into the design principles. These features also help to increase biodiversity in town centre.



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