A comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was undertaken as part of a planning application to determine the effects of the proposed redevelopment and to recommend measures to reduce or eliminate these.
The site is structured by the belts of woodland that are remnants of the former Drakelow Hall. The most significant belts run parallel to the River Trent and across the course of Darklands Brook, bisecting the site.
The site boundary to Walton Road is largely derived from screen planting associated with Drakelow Hall and the power stations. The majority of the woodland belts are protected by Tree Preservation Orders and the Drakelow Park team has worked with the Forestry Commission and South Derbyshire District Council to manage the historic woodland on site and is keen to continue to support the objectives of the National Forest with any future development.
Although the site sits next to the River Trent, it is considerably higher than the river, so it is not susceptible to major flood risk. Some small watercourses, such as the Darklands Brook, run through the site and although water levels within these features may rise during river flooding, they would not affect the surrounding development areas.
There are large areas of existing hardstanding associated with the former power station and existing manufacturing operations. The proposals include Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, such as large balancing/attenuation ponds, to limit the flow of rainfall to the river and other watercourses such as Darklands Brook. This ensures that flows from the redeveloped site remain the same, or are reduced, so as not to exacerbate flooding in these surrounding watercourses.
Vehicular access to the site is currently provided by Walton Road. This will be widened. A full review and traffic monitoring of all routes affected by the development will take place, including the effect on the Walton Bypass which received planning permission in 2006.
The proposals include improvements to public transport and pedestrian and cycle connections.
The nature reserve on the edge of the site will not form part of the development and remains protected. The development will seek to protect habitats and minimise any adverse impacts by increasing connectivity through the site, strengthening wildlife corridors, providing additional foraging and sheltering opportunities and introducing ecologically based landscaping where current hardstanding exists.
The proposals include detailed studies into bats; badgers; birds; Great Crested newts; flora; invertebrates; reptiles; otters and watervoles.
A number of activities, such as those associated with the former power station, have occurred on site which may have led to some ground contamination. A study has been undertaken to assess this and, where necessary, suitable remediation will take place to ensure that the site is safe for new uses.
Listed structures (Grade II) exist on site, comprising an 18th Century stable block and cottages from the former Drakelow Hall, garden walls and sunken river terraces. The proposals include expert reports detailing the appropriate investment to bring these back into beneficial use as part of the proposed development.
In addition to the activity being undertaken above, air quality and noise studies have also been incorporated as part of the EIA, which is a document submitted as part of a planning application.
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