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Contamination Assessment Crucial for Prior Approval On Office Re-Developments

Developers must review the potential for contamination when obtaining prior approval from their Local Planning Authority (LPA) before changing property use from offices to residential, reminds agb Environmental.

Although the change-of-use development rights were altered on 30th May 2013, the environmental consultancy is still seeing a high number of last minute requests as developers omit the contamination assessment requirement of the Prior Approval process. Leaving a contamination assessment to the last minute inevitably results in project delays.

Introducing a new stance on the development rights and change-of-use statement, LPAs now advise all developers to seek prior approval for flooding, highways, transport and contamination issues.

Urging developers to avoid unnecessary delays, Managing Director of agb Environmental, Alex Brearley, suggests contaminated land surveys should be conducted in the early stages of development to enable the development project to continue on time and within budget.

“We have seen a number of last minute requests for Desk Studies and Site Investigations,” says Alex. “The developer has missed this essential requirement prior when submitting the Prior Approval notice to the Local Planning Authority.”

Developers need to consider the change-of-use requirements when transforming offices to a residential property, as there is generally an increase in the sensitivity of contamination, particularly if soft landscaping is to be created for the new residence.

The level of contamination is determined on a combination of the site conditions and the use of the land (or, in the case of planning, the proposed end use).

Early discussions with LPAs will help developers determine if a comprehensive contamination assessment will be required. agb Environmental can aid you in your discussions and determine the most cost effective way of making the initial assessments.

For more information and advice on contamination assessments, please contact agb Environmental on 01638 663226.

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