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Phase 1 Desk Study for a Car Showroom

We undertook an EnviroSmart Report to address planning requirements for the conversion of a car show room into residential dwellings.

Consultation between us and the regulators proved invaluable in clarifying the historical use of the site and the associated risk to future occupants.

Our report clearly conveyed the risks associated with the redevelopment whilst the consultation process settled a long-term misunderstanding that proved crucial for the decision that no further investigation was necessary.

A planning application for the redevelopment of a commercial property to form residential use is considered a change to a more sensitive end-use. As such, a Phase 1 Report is frequently requested by Local Authorities through the planning process in order to clarify potential contamination risk.

We were instructed by the architect, acting on behalf of the developer, to undertake a Phase 1 Desk Study for the site. The key concern for the Local Authority was the potential for hydrocarbon contamination (such as fuels and oils) to be present in sub-soils given the potential for leaks and spills associated with the site’s former use.

Furthermore, anecdotal information suggested an underground fuel tank was present within the site boundary.

In order to address the contamination risk at the site, we purchased an environmental data report as part of the Phase 1 investigation. The report was used to understand any potential sources of contamination that may exist (including pollution incidents, licences and permits) and the environmental sensitivity of the site. The report identified that the site was associated with a former petrol filling station with the same name and postcode.

Following consultation with the Local Authority and the County Council’s Petroleum Licensing Officer, it was determined that that the proposed redevelopment site had been confused with a petrol station located some 300 metres from the actual site boundary. This was because both locations shared the same postcode and name.

On inspection of the County plans and records it became clear that there were no hydrocarbon risks associated with the site, and thus the risks associated with a former filling station were no longer relevant.

When considering the findings of the Phase 1 Risk Assessment, the redevelopment plans were taken into consideration. The report clarified the site history and clearly conveyed that contamination risks present were considered to be low.

Since no groundworks were proposed at the site and the existing hardstanding was not impacted by the current site use, we were able to provide a recommendation that no further investigation was required.

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