Reinvigorating London’s Brent Cross Shopping Centre, UK
When Brent Cross Shopping Centre opened in 1976, it was heralded as futuristic for its indoor fountain and air conditioning. Richard Hyman, a retail analyst, noted at the time that “before Brent Cross, there was nothing like it”. Now known as Brent Cross London, the centre has survived fierce competition and a recession, and is now undergoing rejuvenation to which RSK is proudly contributing detailed ground investigations.
In 2010, Brent Cross London owners, Hammerson and Aberdeen Standard Investments, secured planning permission for the £4 billion masterplan for Brent Cross Cricklewood: the creation of a new town centre covering 141 ha with the iconic shopping centre as its focal point. The masterplan details how some 7,500 homes, 27,000 jobs, 3 rebuilt schools, new parks and community facilities will be added to the area. An additional train station on the Thameslink line and major road and public transport improvements are also major features of the plans.
RSK’s contributions to an icon’s regeneration
A combined Structural Soils (an RSK company) and RSK team carried out a detailed ground investigation in two phases on the gargantuan urban site. Before we deployed teams to London, we had to overcome significant logistical challenges. Off-site, we completed various permitting activities, such as liaising with large and small landowners. The investigation involved drilling more than 300 exploratory holes using various techniques, which produced high-quality core samples for detailed logging and testing at our dedicated core store.
Structural Soils created large-scale, shored observation trenches for examining foundation structures to enable the site designer to work around the existing structures. Despite the disruptive nature and high profile of the work, no negative feedback was received from landowners or the public. Our work was closely monitored by a representative from the client’s consulting engineer who was very pleased with our teamwork ethic and excellent communication. The client has commissioned RSK for the second phase of work. However, in July 2018, the start of on-site work was deferred owing to increased market risks in the UK. The client has stated that once conditions are suitable, the development will commence.