Technical Considerations

As part of the design process, a range of technical assessments have been undertaken which have informed the design and layout of the proposals. These include ecology, landscape, highways, drainage, ground conditions, noise, and air quality amongst others.
 

We have provided a summary of the work carried out by these technical teams to-date, and the planning application will be accompanied by a full suite of technical assessments that will be reviewed by the Council.

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Ecology

Ecological survey work has been ongoing at the proposed development site since 2014.  This has focused on gaining an in depth understanding of the existing habitats and species which are present.

The results of this survey work have been used to inform the design of the development, which has sought to retain and protect the habitats of highest ecological value, and those which support populations of protected species. Site design has given consideration to how protected species currently use the site, so that future use can be maintained and protected.

Within the design of the development, specific consideration has been given as to how existing, retained habitats can be enhanced, so that the number of plant and animal species that they support (their biodiversity value) will be increased. Complementing this, will be the creation of new ecologically valuable habitats and open green space areas which will seek to convert the existing arable dominated landscape into a network of woodland, meadows, species rich hedgerows, sustainable urban drainage systems, and wetlands.

These measures will help to deliver biodiversity rich spaces which will maintain and enhance the ecological value of both the site and the local area around Callerton and Woolsington. In particular, measures will focus on providing and enhancing habitats for farmland birds, brown hare, bats, amphibians and hedgehog.

During development and post construction, the species and habitats across the scheme will continue to be monitored in order to ensure that wildlife and habitats are protected and enhanced. This will be achieved through ongoing ecological survey, biodiversity assessments and engagement with local nature conservation groups.

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Landscape

The masterplan for Callerton has been landscape led and is based around the retention and enhancement of the important woodland and hedgerow planting within the site. This fundamental principle of the masterplan has been in place since the 2016 masterplan. As this plan has developed, positive updates have been made, such as the realignment of the main access road (east/west) through the site. This has been aligned in the current proposals to allow further retention of woodland and hedgerows.

 

The retention of woodland and hedgerows creates a framework for development. It allows for amenity and visual benefits (providing screening) as well as creating space for ecological and biodiversity benefits. As can be seen on the landscape strategy, some green corridors will be inaccessible to people to allow ecology to thrive. There are also plenty of accessible routes for people to enjoy for recreation that also connect to the wider surrounding area. 

 

Attractive streetscapes will be created, utilising street trees and different planting types to create character areas. Open space is provided throughout the development for residents to enjoy. 

 

Across the whole site there is an open space strategy that will see provision of the following for community use:
 

  • Natural green (e.g. accessible wild areas within woodland or meadow areas)

  • Amenity Green Space

  • Parks and Recreation

  • Child and Youth Play spaces

  • Allotments 

 

Creating a sustainable community is part of the vision for this site. Therefore the local centre and school are at the heart of the development. Green routes will ensure residents have usable spaces to get outdoors for recreation and participate in active travel. 

 

The boundaries of the site will be reinforced to provide a landscape buffer to the wider area beyond. As the detailed design for the site develops, Landscape Architects are working closely with Ecologists to ensure habitats are enhanced and created wherever possible, as well as creating an attractive place for people to live and visit.  

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Drainage and Flood Risk

In accordance with national planning policy, a site specific flood risk assessment has been carried out. This risk assessment concluded a low risk of flooding from the following sources: Tidal, Fluvial, Ground water, Public Sewers, Land Drainage, Artificial Sources.

 

The risk assessment concluded a low to medium risk for flooding from overland flow, and therefore proposed mitigation measures to reduce the risk of flooding from this source.

 

The proposed mitigation scheme includes the following measures:
 

  1. Collect and attenuate surface water runoff from the development areas – which allows water to be held back during the type of storms which result in flood risk.
     

  2. Establish flow paths through the site to follow routes which do not place properties at risk of flooding.
     

  3. Ensure proposed floor levels are above ground levels.
     

  4.  Ensure any residual flood water volume is catered for within the SUDs features proposed on the scheme.

 

In terms of management of surface water, the development will comply with the requirements of building regulations. The nationally prescribed drainage hierarchy has been investigated, and has concluded that discharge to the existing watercourses is the acceptable solution for this scheme.

 

In discharging surface water flow to the watercourses, the development will provide attenuation in form of SUDs (“sustainable urban drainage system”) ponds to attenuate and slow the rate of run off into the watercourses during the type of storms which may result in flood risk. This results in a reduction in flood risk on the watercourses downstream and in the surrounding area. 

 

The scheme will include allowance for climate change and urban creep (i.e. future increases in hardstanding areas). The use of SUDs features will ensure that water quality is addressed to the appropriate level.

 

The development will direct foul flows to the existing public sewer network. Consultation has been held with Northumbrian Water, who will become responsible for the new sewer network when the development is completed.

Ground Conditions

Historically the site has been predominantly greenfield with the notable exception of historic mining activity. Areas of the site have been subject to extraction of coal seams by open cast methods with the extent of the former open cast workings being established through site investigation work completed to date. These investigations have also identified the locations of historic mine shafts which have been identified on the constraints and opportunities plan on this website. This situation is not unusual for residential sites in this part of the country and any risk from historic mine workings has been thorough investigated and a scheme of stabalisation works including drilling and grout injection will be developed once a detailed layout is finalised.

Transport

The promotion of sustainable development is a golden thread running through the Government’s planning policies.  The Upper Callerton development is well located to take advantage of sustainable transport options including Bank Foot Metro station.  The internal road infrastructure will be designed to accommodate bus services, and discussions with NEXUS are underway to determine what new or diverted services are appropriate to route through the development.  In addition, the development will incorporate high quality footways and cycleways designed to encourage the use of sustainable modes of travel – these will connect with existing facilities off site to enable sustainable trips to retail, employment, and leisure opportunities.  

 

Further, the provision of a school and local services within the development, as well as well-designed homes suitable for homes working, will reduce the need to travel and the potential for impacts on the road network.  

 

The traffic impacts of the proposed development have been considered over a number of years.  In addition to development-specific reports and analysis at the allocation stage, the Council, recognising that its emerging Core Strategy and large housing developments would generate demand for travel by all modes, set out to quantify the impacts of proposed housing sites of greater than 70 new homes.  Working with National Highways (formerly Highways England) and developers, the Council has sought to determine where traffic impacts on the road network might require mitigation.  Through detailed and robust modelling, a series of interventions and mitigation measures were identified, prioritised, and costed.  With regards to Upper Callerton, the Councils’ study considered the impact of the new homes and identified the contributions required towards the mitigation works. 

 

With due regard to the extensive work already undertaken, and with the determination of interventions and mitigations already established, the principles employed in the Council’s study have been adopted in the preparation of the Transport Assessment that will accompany the planning application for development.

 

The Transport Assessment will revisit and reassess the operation of a number of junctions already considered by the Council, in light of the proposed development, particularly: 
 

  • A167 Ponteland Road / A1 / A696 / B6918 Ponteland Road 

  • A167 Ponteland Road / Etal Lane 

  • A167 Ponteland Road / Springfield Road

 

The Transport Assessment will retest the improvements already proposed at these junctions to determine their suitability and, if necessary, suggest further improvements to ensure that any severe traffic impact from the development is suitably mitigated.