Return to Abbotts Lane, Coventry

Return to Abbotts Lane, Coventry

VHE return for the final phase of remediation to the former gasworks site in central Coventry.

Having initially demolished the former Transco regional offices, exposing the remains of the original old town gasworks, for a Design and Build Remediation project in 2013. We returned in 2020 for Phase 1 of the final transformation enabling the early completion of a central landscape feature, the Linear Park. We are now back on site to complete the final phase of remediation to prepare the site for a major residential development of 690 homes.

2013 saw the removal of below ground tanks and historical contamination, including the re-engineering of below ground gasholder and clearance of other former town gas manufacturing process areas suitably to enable the sale of the land. VHE, with our design partners, undertook the site investigation, environmental risk assessment and regulatory liaison, delivery and close out as Principal Contractor. The gasworks site at Abbotts Lane, Coventry were an operational site producing gas from coal carbonisation from the 1850’s until 1906, at which time the production was transferred to a larger facility in Foleshill, Coventry. Up until the late 1980’s the site continued to operate as a storage facility, with 3 large gasholders and varying ancillary operations including workshops and a Transco depot. In 2012 the site was closed leaving significant office buildings and workshops constructed over the previous below ground structures (inc purifiers, retort house etc.). Demolition of the existing above ground structures was undertaken to complete additional site investigation to fully characterize the site and design a remediation phase. VHE‘s role included the preparation and submission of a full planning application for the site and regulator liaison to agree a scope for the demolition and site investigation stages. Demolition and Refurbishment surveys were completed on 6 buildings with ecological surveys and an archaeological watching brief during the SI. A 6 week phase of SI was undertaken to provide targeted data to maximize the potential of the Human Health and Groundwater Risk Assessments. Factual and Interpretative reports for the SI were produced and a detailed design for the remediation prepared based upon the findings. Low flow water samples were recovered from the existing and new boreholes and falling head tests undertaken to determine the permeability of the underlying sandstone. This enabled a detailed DQRA to be produced to support the remediation target levels in the design which was submitted to the regulator for sign off as a statutory consultee under the planning process. During works hotspots including three gasholders and a tank were remediated along with visible spent oxide and spent lime with materials segregated to reduce offsite disposal. Oversize was removed from material destined to be removed from site, crushed and retested to enable reuse within the project. The majority of material was sent to offsite treatment centres with only the gross contamination sent to landfill. VHE had intended to onsite treat materials by bioremediation using their Mobile Treatment Permit to reduce cost and increase material reuse but time constraints meant that was not feasible. Excavated structures were backfilled with suitable site reuse and import and compacted to the required specification,

Our 2020 visit saw the preparatory works removals of former foundations and processing for a re-engineered surface suitable for the placement of the planting and land-art that is present today.

Our current visit commenced in June 2023 and will include the final Phase of remediation works ahead of the proposed future development for residential land. As part of this phase an extensive archaeological dig is being undertaken to the oldest remaining part of the early 1800s section of the former gasworks buildings. Once the recordings are complete we will re-engineer the remaining site , remove and reprocess concrete and brick below ground structures, recycle materials and validate works with final base level reprofiling.

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