Aquinas College – contaminated land, theft of public open space, built too big, failure to provide replacement playing fields. The usual planning abuse from Stockport Council.

Notes from visit to Hygarth House Planning Office to read Aquinas files

The site is divided into three zones – Zone A in the west which is currently the field and tennis courts where the school buildings will be going, Zone B, which is where the buildings are now, and Zone C which is the green area at the far side.

Zone A has the heaviest contamination. Zone B would have to be further investigated once the buildings currently on it are demolished, they don’t suspect much contamination in Zone C and the other end of the site.

In Zone A current site users should be advised of the potential risks and activities should include appropriate risk assessments (Faber Maunsell Geo-Environmental Interpretive Report Page 9). Inhalation of dust and/or vapours for current users – probability of risk being realised – Likely. Inhalation of ground gas – Likely. Direct contact of contaminated ground within ground structures and ecological receptors, current buildings and services adjacent to the site – Likely. (page 23 Faber Maunsell Geo-Environmental Interpretative Report).

In Area 1 of Zone A 35% of the material may be considered hazardous waste. (Faber Maunsell Remediation Update January 2008.)
The site has a history of foundation problems (Desk Study Report Ref 1).
There should be an asbestos risk register for the current building.
Potentially variable ground conditions particularly made ground and buried foundations/structures may pose a geotechnical hazard.

5 boreholes were sunk in total, 6 cable percussion boreholes, which are nothing to do with contamination but just to see how hard the ground is, 8 trial pits and 10 window samples.

Gas was not monitored in Zone B or Zone C.

Faber Maunsell Contamination Assessment Chapter 7 mentions the adjacent residential users and current site users.

In Zone B & C there is arsenic slightly above the human health criteria levels.

They say they have complied with Planning Policy Statement 23 – Planning and Pollution Control, and DEFRA Circular 01/2006 under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, BS 1377, SNIFFER, CLR10 and Ground Gas CIRIA report C659.

Methane levels between <0.1 and 4.2v/v%. Elevated methane in boreholes 01 and 04.

CO2 levels <0.1 and 12.8v/v%. Elevated CO2 in boreholes 01, 02, 04, 05 and 06.

Waste Management Paper 27 recommends that private housing with gardens should not be constructed on landfill sites where the methane levels are in excess of 1% v/v or the carbon dioxide levels are in excess of 1.5% v/v., so the above figures are very high.

Zone A will need a topsoil strip and a re-levelling of earthworks across the Zone, excavation of made ground and removal. Applicable techniques – cover systems, hard cover screening, excavation, disposal off site and de-watering.

The College considers the playing fields to be the most vulnerable part of the college grounds as regards intruders.

Sport England says the facilities should be open to community access and a Community Use Agreement should be signed.

In a letter dated 25/01/08 to Peter Taylor, Planning Manager, West Area, SMBC Mr R G Hill the Assistant Principle at Aquinas said, regarding the cutting back of trees, which I believe has already been done, that prior to this action we will leaflet the neighbours informing them of what we are planning to do.

There is a press notice in the file stating that it is a departure from the UDP and a major development, but as far as I can tell it only went into the paper once in November.

The decision was taken to undertake this development three years earlier according to a document dated October 2007.

The Sports Hall is to remain as it is apparently.

Letter from XXXX, XXX Maple Close, Heaviley. “We currently have access to the playing fields via a gate at the rear of my property that has been there since the house was built.”

XXXX of XXX Soudan Road says this has been a recreational field for 70 years.

XXXX says it was bequeathed by Miss Annie Ward for the benefit of the people of Stockport.

The person at XXX Nangreave Road says the land was used in the past for carnivals, fairs and football etc.

XXXX of XXX Maple Close says:- “We also have to maintain an area of the field 5ft over our boundary fence which they have never cut or maintained in the last 6 years” and say that on their property deeds it states that that should be maintained as a green area.

From 7.3 of the contamination report:-

Copper, Lead, Zinc, Benz(a)anthracene, Benzo(b)fluaronthene, Benz(a)pyrene, Dibenzo(ah)anthrocene, Methylnaphthalene, Acenaphthane, Carbazole, Dibenzofuron – all found way above levels at which action must be taken.

12th May 2008 – Sheila Oliver

Once through the planning process the contamination remediation requirements were lessened.