In the last few days a company has started Site Investigation works at White Dirt Farm which has understandable caused concern from neighbours wondering if they have missed something and work is imminently about to begin.
In short, no planning application has been received, no approvals have been given and there are no plans against which to form any approval, so NO, Taylor Wimpey do not have any permission to carry out ANY development works.
So, what is going on then?
When you are building most of the risk is in the ground, and some investigative works need to be carried out to establish what this means. Examples below:
– Foundation Design. The investigative works will establish the ground bearing capacity so foundations can be designed. On some land this might identify the ground is too poor for conventional foundations, and piling is required. This is very unlikely here, but it may identify soft spots which can affect foundations, or in some cases the layout of the houses to avoid areas of poor ground.
– Ground Contaminants. As farmland the ground will be high in Phosphates, Nitrites and other fertilizers. Depending on the quantity it may be necessary to import a minimum depth of fresh top soil to the lawns and boarders of the new properties. If the land has been used for other purposes in the past then there may be other contaminants present which might become an issue. This is more the case in industrial or brown field land.
– Water Table. This will affect the drainage design as most new development will ‘self drain’ to avoid surcharge on the public sewers. The water table is a key factor in this.
Some of this information is also required by the planning authority to be able to verify if a development is suitable (i.e. there is no contamination problem). Parts can be provided after planning is granted, but some is required for planning to be granted on a scheme this size. For the developer the more below ground investigation carried out prior to a planning application, the lower the risk of unexpected, and costly surprises later. It is really a judgement for the developer on how much money to spend ‘at risk’ prior to planning to support their application. If the application is refused then this money is a total loss.
Hopefully the notes above set out why the activity is taking place and give comfort that no decisions have been taken. I will post here when an application is received, any consultation details, and when the application will be heard.
It is unfortunately an indication that Taylor Wimpey, despite significant lobbying behind the scenes, will be progressing with an application, but we have no reason to believe this will be any different to the timescale they gave us at their consultations which was: “Application Mid May, but this may slip based on feedback from the consultation”. If an application is received in Mid May, then it will be heard by a planning committee Mid to Late July.
Thank you to Andy Stevens and Toby from Twitter (@MrWayobt) for kind permission to use their photos.