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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 27/09/2004

Executive 53



Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972

The annexe to this report contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded. The information is as specified in the following paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, viz:

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (other than the authority) (paragraph 7).

Any terms proposed or to be proposed by or to the authority in the course of negotiations for a contract for the acquisition or disposal of property or the supply of goods or services (paragraph 9).

Any instructions to counsel and any opinion of counsel (whether or not in connection with any proceedings) an any advice received, information obtained or action to be taken in connection with –

(a) any legal proceedings by or against the authority, or

(b) the determination of any matter affecting the authority (whether, in either case, proceedings have been commenced or are in contemplation) (paragraph 12).

PART 1 – Reports containing recommendations for decision by the Council

[Wards Affected: All Godalming Wards]

A.1. In July 2000, Roger Evans and Associates were commissioned by the Council to prepare a development framework for the Godalming “Key Site”, as identified in the Replacement Local Plan. The aim was to set out a coherent approach on design and access issues to encourage and guide proposals for redevelopment within the Key Site.

A.2. The main objectives for the site are to improve the townscape and to retain and secure a mixture of uses, which support and complement the well-being of the town and its centre. It was recognised that while the site was in a number of separate ownerships, the piecemeal development of each of them might not realise the location’s total design potential. Accordingly, the Council sought a co-ordinated development of the Key Site. An annexe giving a précis of recent decisions is attached.

A.3. It is known that the western part of the site contains up to 3 metres of made-up ground and the redundant underground structures related to the former gas works remains on the site. Past investigations have indicated the presence in the soil of pollutants typically related to this activity. Other pollutants have been identified in the groundwater of the site. It is understood that remediation could be achieved by the removal of the worst areas and providing an impervious barrier in areas to be landscaped.

A.4. Planning permission was granted in April 2003 to Belvedere Smith Properties (Key Site) LLP for the development of the Council’s former depot site (Phase 1). As a condition of planning and prior to the commencement of the development, a contamination survey was to be carried out and a remediation scheme proposed for the site. Connell Mott MacDonald carried out two surveys, a preliminary investigation in May 2003 and a main investigation in October 2003.

A.5. Following chemical analysis, the most appropriate remediation of the site is to provide a secant pile wall installation around the basement and proposed central landscaping area, excavation to remove significant contamination sources and in the soft landscaped areas to install a cover system, which includes an impervious barrier.

A.6. The purpose of the secant pile wall is to mitigate the amount of contaminated ground water being drawn out during the de-watering of the basement excavation. It was originally intended that steel sheet piling would be used but because of the lateral water pressure in the ground the sheet piles may rotate or be otherwise insufficient. The installation of the secant pile wall has resulted in additional costs.

A.7. At the meeting of the Executive on 12th July 2004, the developers outlined their proposal for an additional floor to Phase 1 in order to recover the additional costs incurred due to the levels of contamination and to provide the necessary cash flow to meet their contractual retentions.

A.8. The cost of the secant piling, together with other additional costs will have affected potential profit for Phase 1. The financial commitment to the scheme as it currently stands means that a cash deficit could be carried through to Phase 2. Details are included in the (Exempt) Annexe to this report.

A.9. As previously stated, it has always been the Council’s intention to seek a co-ordinated development of the Key Site. In order to ensure that the developer continues with the rest of the Key Site development and does not "walk away" after the completion of Phase 1, should he be successful with the planning application for the additional floor, the Council needs to look at ways to ensure remediation of the remainder of the site. Details are included in the (Exempt) Annexe.

A.10. Under the terms of the existing contract a sum of money (referred to in the (Exempt) Annexe) is already held by Waverley on deposit against the developer failing to proceed with the remainder of the Key Site. Should the developer not comply with his obligations under the existing contract, Waverley will become entitled to this sum unconditionally.

A.11. An alternative solution is set out in the (Exempt) Annexe.

A.12. An analysis of the risks for the Council is included in the (Exempt) Annexe. However, failure to proceed as planned would result in a non-cohesive development and considerable delay before the site is remediated.

A.13. The height of the new proposed scheme with an additional floor is no higher than the ridge level of the existing scheme. The proposed scheme now has a flat roof rather than a pitched one. The revised elevation provides the necessary link with the outline proposals for the rest of the Key Site development.

A.14. Due to the anticipated levels of contamination to the remainder of the site (Phase 2) and consequent remediation costs, it is necessary to maximise the development to the remainder of the site. The revision to Phase 1 provides a similar approach to the remainder of the proposed development.

A.15. From historical contamination survey data for the remainder of the site and from the findings of the surveys for Phase 1 it has been possible to surmise the likely levels of contamination to Phase 2. As Phase 2 will comprise the redevelopment of the areas of gas manufacture and other associated processes, it is likely these areas will be the most contaminated, particularly from previous experience of gas site remediation. It is anticipated that heavily contaminated ground will be encountered with higher concentrations of contaminants than found during Phase 1 works.

A.16. Phase 1 proved to be more contaminated than anticipated and therefore it is probable that there are areas of heavily contaminated ground within Phase 2 of the Key Site which will require a substantial amount of remediation at significant cost.

A.17. Black and Veatch Consulting were commissioned by Belvedere Smith Properties (Key Site) LLP in May 2004 to identify possible measures for dealing with soil and groundwater that are expected to be heavily contaminated in some areas of the site. Until full site investigations are carried out, the remedial options are based on current understanding of the site and are therefore only provisional.

A.18. Three scenarios have been drawn for the site and remedial options proposed:-
A.19. Taking account of the financial details and risks set against the overriding objective set by the Council to bring about regeneration of this site, the Executive


46. from a landowner perspective and to develop a comprehensive key site redevelopment and decontamination, the Council supports submission of an application for the building of an additional floor in Phase 1, subject to the conditions set out in the (Exempt) Annexe to this report (see recommendations 47 and 48).

Background Papers (DoP&D)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

PART II – Matters reported in detail for the information of the Council

PART III – Brief Summaries of other matters dealt with

There are no matters falling within either category.