The site is located to the east of the city centre area and is 1.01 hectares in size. The northern part of the site is known as the former Box and Barrel works and is now cleared. The southern part of the site is owned by National Grid and comprises a disused gas holder, a gas pressure reduction station and a residential property.
The site borders Kett’s Heights, an historic park on the Thorpe wooded ridge to the east and newly developed residential properties and supported housing schemes to the south. A car sales site, which is also allocated for future development in this plan (site R15), lies to its north. The inner ring road and the Bishop Bridge Road local centre are to the west.
The site is between the St Matthews Conservation Area and the Thorpe Hamlet Conservation Area. Traffic is busy on the inner ring road, especially close to the roundabout. The steepness of the chalk escarpment east of the site has prevented any major development, resulting in a ‘green wedge’ of trees and greenery, creating an important refuge for wildlife and open space. The ridge provides excellent views to and from the city centre.
The site is an accessible location for housing, opposite a local centre, close to the city centre and on a bus route.
The site was formerly allocated in the Replacement local plan 2004 for housing development as two separate sites. The northern part of the site has a part implemented planning permission for 19 dwellings. National Grid has put forward further extensions to the original local plan allocation to include the house at 27 Bishop Bridge Road and the gas pressure reduction station. The site is covered by the Health and Safety Executive consultation zone for the gas holder. Development of the southern part of the site will depend on the successful decommissioning of the gas holder and revocation of its hazardous substance consent. Allocation of this site will help to secure comprehensive site development.
Design will have to take account of the site’s topography and must not have a negative impact on geodiversity or on views to and from the Thorpe Ridge - Kett’s Heights is identified as an important long view in appendix 8 of the DM policies plan and the site lies between two conservation areas. Kett’s Heights is also identified as part of a green infrastructure corridor in policy 1 of the JCS. Therefore the design of development must take account of existing trees on site and create a habitat link to Kett’s Heights.
The development will also have to address specific on-site constraints relating to its former uses and location. Decommissioning and demolition of existing structures will be required and ground conditions and contamination assessments will be necessary. Since the site is over 1 hectare in size, a flood risk assessment is required and appropriate mitigation measure must be provided as part of the development. Design of the development must minimise the impact of noise from the inner ring road. An archaeological assessment will also be required.
Access to the majority of the site should be from the existing unused junction neighbouring 27 Bishop Bridge Road. Since this access point is likely to also be used to access site R15 to the north, development should be designed to enable this. Inclusion of the gas pressure reduction station means that the south-eastern part of the development could be accessed via William Kett Close.
As a minimum, protection and enhancement of geodiversity will include recording of geological features on site.
Development needs to ensure that the water environment is protected. The site falls within Source Protection Zone 1, designated to protect water supplies, and therefore the water environment is particularly vulnerable in this location. Detailed discussions over this issue will be required with the Environment Agency to ensure that proposals are appropriate for the site and that the site is developed in a manner which protects the water environment.
The site is in two different ownerships, both of whom are promoting their sites for development. A planning permission has been granted for the northern part of the site (north of 27 Bishop Bridge Road) for 19 dwellings, which is dependent on the formal revocation of the hazardous substance consent for the gas holder. Since National Grid has indicated its intention to decommission this site and have the consent removed, the site is capable of delivery during the plan period.
POLICY R14: Land east of Bishop Bridge Road – housing development
The site east of Bishop Bridge Road (1.01 hectares) is allocated for housing development. In the region of 50 dwellings will be provided.
Development will not take place prior to the revocation or surrender of the hazardous substance consent or decommissioning of the gas holder.
Development proposals should provide for potential future vehicular access to allocated site R15 to the north.
Design of the development must reflect its location adjacent to the Thorpe wooded ridge and protect and enhance biodiversity and geodiversity.
A noise assessment is required and the development should be designed to mitigate the impact of noise from the inner ring road.