Environmental and archaeology planning for an NHS critical treatment hospital
RSK, collaborating with architectural and design consultancy Stride Treglown, helped to support the planning application for a new critical treatment hospital near Basingstoke, UK, on behalf of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Our role involved developing an environmental impact assessment of the agricultural land proposed for the hospital site. Our specialists identified any adverse environmental effects from the development and suggested mitigation measures.
The local area is rich in archaeology, so RSK’s specialists also assessed its archaeological potential. We examined local records and completed a geophysical site survey to determine any areas of unexpected disturbance of the soil. The assessment would enable the avoidance of building in the areas of greater archaeological potential on the site. We also recommended employing archaeologists to supervise any excavations during construction.
Owing to the rural character of the area around the site, a new multi-storey building could, potentially, harm the landscape character and visual environment. Therefore, RSK completed a landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA) that involved examining the development from the perspective of various viewpoints surrounding the site and preparing computer-generated visualisations of the expected changes for each viewpoint. The assessments aided planning for the design, orientation and location of the buildings, and the landscaping on-site that would soften any unacceptable changes.
In combination with the LVIA assessment, we also completed an arboricultural assessment in which our experts assessed the health and value of the trees on and near the site. Trees categorised as worth retaining were incorporated into the general plans.
RSK undertook an acoustic assessment of the proposed development, which included the impacts of air ambulance movements on-site. By measuring the on-site noise levels and at various points around the site, our acousticians modelled how the noise levels would change during construction and when the hospital was operational. With the incorporation of suitable glazing and ventilation systems into the buildings, the expected effects of the development on the noise environment were acceptable.
After submitting the planning application and environmental statement, the project received planning approval in 2015. Unfortunately, the development has not progressed any further. In 2019, the trust was selected to receive central funding as part of phase 2 of the Department of Health and Social Care’s Health Infrastructure Plan. RSK and Stride Treglown will continue their partnership with the trust and support in the initial phases of developing new facilities, as and when the project progresses.