Investigating the ground at Macclesfield, UK
The South Macclesfield Development Area is a 53-ha mixed brown- and greenfield strategic development site that has been designated by Cheshire East Council as a core location for the construction of 950 homes with associated retail, school, commercial and leisure buildings and a 1.5-km link road. It lies on the outskirts of the market town of Macclesfield. RoC Consulting, an RSK company, was appointed by Engine of the North to provide strategic land services, including civil and geoenvironmental expertise, to support the site development.
We supported the submission of an outline planning application for the site by providing technical guidance and reports for the environmental impact assessment process. For this, the team completed a programme of ground investigation work across the area to refine their understanding of the geological and contaminated land considerations and to assess the severity of ground gas ingress across the site from sources within the soil and from nearby landfill sites.
The work revealed that poorly compacted soil up to 5 m deep underlies roughly 85% of the development footprint, which presents a key development consideration and constraint. Another constraint discovered was a raised peat bog that bounds the site and must be considered in relation to any future strategies for surface water drainage.
The civil engineering experts used this information to complete the detailed design of the link road and site drainage strategy, while working closely and collaboratively with the client, local highways officers and other key stakeholders during the process. This design was a crucial component for the site’s development, as it limits the commercial requirements of the scheme during its initial delivery stages and eases pressures on cash flow.
As a result of the monitoring work RoC carried out, the assessment of the spatial distribution and severity of ground gases was completed, thereby enabling determination of the extent of the necessary protective measures.