Update on Sowerby Gateway Project.

Update on Sowerby Gateway Project.

By Mike Rushmere
9 December 2019
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Progress report for 8th December.

Latest news….
Following the completion of Phases 1 and 2, maintenance
to the landscaping and pitches has been ongoing
and will continue over the winter.
Maintenance works to the perimeter hedging has also
been carried out and we expect the outstanding works
to be completed prior to Christmas.
Solar lighting around the fitness trail
Bat friendly solar lighting studs have been installed around the fitness trail. These low level lights are spaced approximately 10 metres apart and provide a guide around the track.

The lights have been installed in partnership with Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers.
Community Allotments
The legal work to lease the community allotments to Sowerby Parish Council has now been completed and they are currently busy allocating the plots to individual tenants who will be on site very soon. The temporary fencing at the front of the car park has been removed to allow access to the site for this purpose. The rest of the site will remain closed to allow the maintenance works to be completed.
Western entrance access road
The Council is working in partnership with the Department of Education to construct the access road into the Sports Village at the western entrance (near to Aldi). This will eventually provide vehicular and pedestrian access to the Sports Village main car park as well as to the new primary school that is currently under construction. We are aiming to complete the road works by Summer 2020.
Future work
Over the next 2-3 months we will be concentrating on:
· Construction of the western access road
· Agreeing the operational plan for the site
· Considering future phases of the site including the construction of a full size 3G artificial pitch, changing facilities and car park, all which will require external funding.

News from June 2019.
As you are aware we have completed Phase 1 to remediate the land, install drainage and create allotment gardens, landscaping and a fitness trail; and also Phase 2 to create grass pitches within the perimeter of the fitness trail. We are currently in the snagging and maintenance phase of these works, the majority of which is trying to get the weeds under control!
You may have noticed that we have installed 9 poles, each with 4 bird boxes, along the Donkey Lane perimeter fence to provide nesting provision for our feathered friends. And as suggested at one of our consultation events we have installed hedgehog holes along this fence line too.
We have also engaged the help of The Clock and Thirsk School and Sixth Form College to create ‘bug hotels’ for all kinds of creepy crawlies. The construction of these ‘hotels’, using recycled materials, will help restore biodiversity in the area.
Cable diversion
Last month (May) the 33KV electricity cable that cut across the site was diverted underground by Northern Powergrid.
Next steps
Over the next 2-3 months we will be concentrating on:
· The ongoing maintenance to the landscaping and pitches between now and the end of March 2020
· Working in partnership with Sowerby Parish Council to progress the allocation of the allotments
· Liaising with the developers of the new primary school to ensure their development interface works alongside our development
· Installing additional fencing alongside Gravel Hole Lane and the new car park to protect the landscaping works

April update:
The end of March has seen the completion of the Sowerby Environmental Space project
which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The former land fill site has been remediated, a sustainable drainage system has been installed, 18 allotment gardens have been created along with a small car park, a 1 kilometre fitness trail has been built and significant soft landscaping work has been completed including the installation of bird boxes and bug hotels all of which will create a wide range of habitats for our local wildlife.
Coming up…
Completion of the grass pitches within the perimeter of the fitness trail. Seeding of the area adjacent to the allotments. Aerial filming of the site which we will be posted on our website shortly. Exploration of funding opportunities to develop further phases of the Master Plan.

Due to the ongoing work to the pitches and the considerable outlay that has been
invested in the landscaping works we are currently considering access controls so that the
newly planted trees and shrubs are given the best chance to thrive.

Latest News from March.
The majority of the works around the entrance to the new car park off Gravel Hole Lane are now complete.
Small and large trees have been planted around the car park together along with a significant number of shrubs and plants which is nearly complete.
The top layer of contrasting coloured tarmac has been laid on the fitness trail as you can
see below.

The larger trees are being planted along the fitness trail with the hedge plants and seeding
of the area to follow.
Coming up…
Finishing of this phase which is on track to be completed by the end of March when the fitness trail, car park, allotment gardens and the extensive planting scheme will be complete.

Work will also start on ‘phase 2’ of the development to create grass sports pitches within the perimeter of the fitness trail.
By the end of the works the following developments will be visible on site:
48 space car park
18 allotment gardens
A one kilometre fitness trail
Extensive tree, hedge and shrub planting
Habitat homes
Interpretation Boards
Grass pitches within the fitness trail
As the date of the completion of the works gets closer, we are starting to work on an access plan for the site. Access to the site is likely to be phased and with some restrictions
initially to allow the planting to get established. We will let you know more in due course.

Update from 8th February.
Work is continuing around the entrance to the new car park off Gravel Hole Lane, which
includes some drainage and kerbing works as well as the completion of works to services,
which run through or adjacent to the site.
Footpaths and shed bases have been installed to the allotments. Planting has started around the car park and allotment area. The planting so far includes some larger trees and shrub plants.
A 2 metre weldmesh fence has been installed along Donkey Lane which will have hedgehog holes to encourage wildlife into the site.
Work to the footpaths and the car park is ongoing with the sub-base now trimmed ready for surfacing to these areas .
Coming up…
Trees and plants will continue to be planted around the allotment and car park area
Planting will commence around the fitness trail Fencing and gates around the
allotments will be installed over the coming weeks.
Footpath works will be completed.
Some of the work required to the services running through or adjacent to the site has been
undertaken and completed.
It is hoped that the tarmac surface to the allotment car park and fitness trail will be laid
towards the end of February, when planting works to these areas will be well underway.
The varieties of trees and plants that are being planted over the coming weeks have been
chosen to create habitats for local species of wildlife and increase biodiversity. To enhance
the planting, we will also be installing habitat homes, which include a number of bird boxes.
We have met with Thirsk Secondary School and The Clock and together we are looking to create some “Bug Hotels” which will be located on the site to support a variety of insects and creepy crawlies. Using pallets reclaimed from the soft landscaping works this is a fun way to engage young people in biodiversity and natural habitats.
Adjacent to the site (opposite Aldi and to the rear of Orchid House) work continues on the
construction of the access road that will service the new primary school. The construction
of this road is being delivered by the Sowerby Gateway housing developers in preparation of the school being built and is not part of the Sowerby Sports Village scheme.

24th January update.
Contractors are back on site following the Christmas break. As the majority of required ground works have now been undertaken, heavy plant machinery has been moved off site and the site cabins reduced in number and size.
Before Christmas, a base layer of tarmac was laid on the car park and fitness trail. It is anticipated that the top coat of tarmac (to finish these areas) will be laid towards the end of February or the beginning of March.
The soft landscaping work has begun on site and the ground prepared for tree planting to take place
Coming up…
· Tree planting will begin on site and the majority of trees should be planted by the end of the month.
· Fencing and gates will be installed over the coming weeks
· Footpath works will be completed
We are continuing to liaise with a number of service providers including Yorkshire Water, Vodaphone BT and Northern Power Grid, who all have services running through or adjacent to the site.
Work on the Vodafone and BT services is expected to begin at the end of January. Once complete, the top layer of tarmac can be laid on the car park and fitness trail to complete these works.

4th December update:
The last few weeks have been spent setting out the small car park off Gravel Hole Lane and setting out the plots for the allotment gardens.
Work has been completed on the maintenance strip between the allotment gardens and Kings Meadow boundary. The height of a berm has been reduced and the planting plans are now complete following the consultation event at the end of October.
Completion of the base course for the fitness trail ready for the tarmac to be laid.

Coming up …
Between now and Christmas the contractors will be:
· Completing the installation of timber edging to the allotment gardens and creating concrete bases for the individual sheds
· Installing the base course for the small car park in readiness for the tarmac being laid
· Installation of the vast majority of kerbs to the allotment gardens car park and installation of pin kerbs/stone to the footpath from the car park to allotment gardens entrance
We are currently liaising with a number of services including Yorkshire Water, Vodaphone and Northern Power Grid who all have services running through or adjacent to the site.
The laying of the tarmac to the allotment gardens car park and the fitness trail has been slightly delayed as cabling for existing services need to be lowered to enable the contractors to gain access off Gravel Hole Lane. This work will now be undertaken in the New Year.

November update:
In March Northern Power Grid will be diverting the power cable that cuts right across the site – this will be diverted underground. The works are not being undertaken until British Summer Time arrives to reduce demand on the grid whilst works are carried out.

The last two weeks have focused on completing all the carrier drains and associated manholes around the pitches.
The pitches within the fitness trail have been trimmed to finished levels in preparation for seeding in the New Year.
The batters at the rear of the Skate Park have been regraded and the fence reinstalled. And finally the soak-away tank has been installed.
Coming up…
Over the next two to three weeks work will commence on:
· installing the timber edging to the allotment gardens
· installing the kerbing to the allotment gardens car park
· installing the tarmac to the fitness trail
Residents open evening
Thank you to everyone who took the time to come to the open evening on 25 October – we were extremely pleased to see such a high turnout and grateful for the opportunity to speak face to face about the project.
We spoke to a number of residents from Kings Meadows regarding the species of trees that will be planted to the rear of their properties. Some residents have asked for changes and we have now informed our landscape architects so they can take this into consideration before the final planting arrangements have been confirmed. A berm at the far end of the fitness trail is also to be lowered by 0.5 metres after concerns were raised about the height.
Some residents were concerned about security on the site. We were able to confirm that the site (except for the allotment gardens car park) will be secure in line with the planning conditions but that there are no plans for CCTV to be installed.
We were also able to confirm that residents whose properties are adjacent to the allotment gardens will still be able to access their hedge in liaison with Sowerby Parish Council who is to take over the management of the allotment gardens once they are built.

Grass pitches – approved
Today Cabinet has approved a proposal to bring forward the development of the grass pitches within the perimeter of the fitness trail. It will mean materials and resources currently on site can be optimised saving money and further disruption at a later date. Work on this will start in the New Year and be finished in Spring 2019.

A Youtube animation of the development at link below.
Youtube link: Sowerby Development

From 19th October update.
Over the next two to three weeks work will be completed on the carrier drains, the levels will be finished off to prepare the land for the pitches within the perimeter of the fitness track and the area to the rear of the skate park will be regraded (23 – 26 October).
Also for information: contractors for Taylor Wimpey will shortly be starting works to extend the access road to the rear of Aldi to the entrance of the new primary school which is part of the planning conditions of the wider Sowerby Gateway development. As part of this work a temporary access road will be installed so that the Sowerby Sports Village contactors continue to have access to the site.

REMINDER: Residents open evening
The residents open evening is on Thursday 25 October from 4:30-6:30pm– at Thirsk School and Sixth Form College main hall – this is drop-in event.
Whilst this is primarily aimed at those who have expressed an interest in one of the allotments, and those whose property backs onto the site, all local residents are welcome.
The purpose of the event is to share information regarding the landscaping plans along the perimeter of Kings Meadows, including where trees are to be planted. If you live along the perimeter you can get involved in selecting the type of species.

The last couple of weeks have been spent ‘capping‘ the former land fill site adjacent to the Kings Meadows boundary. A membrane has been laid over the whole area which has then had 11,000 tonnes of aggregate packed over it to cap and stabilise the land in preparation for its future use for allotments and grass sports pitches. The area has then been raised with sub-soil and top-soil to complete this phase of the works.
Whilst it has been a busy time with lorries transporting the materials the bulk of this high volume work has been completed and you will now start to see a reduction in the number of heavy vehicles coming to and from the site. A number of people reported that vehicles from our project were using Gravel Hole Lane however it appears that these lorries were from the B1448/A168 slip road improvement scheme. We are informed that this situation has now been rectified.
We have temporarily closed the skate park this week (17-21 September) as part of the land to the rear of the park is required for the grass pitches. This has required the removal of the back fence, levelling out of the land and then re-installation of the fence.

Coming up…
Over the next two weeks soil will be laid for the allotments and works will commence on the 1km tarmac fitness trail to the rear of the site. This will initially entail stripping of the topsoil and starting to form the edgings that are located alongside the trail.

Orchid House visit
We were delighted to be invited to the Orchid House coffee morning on 11 September where we were provided with the opportunity to talk about the project and answer residents questions. It was great to see so many people taking an interest and we hope the session was helpful.
One concern was the height of the stock pile of top soil and we hope that people are happier now that the soil has been redistributed as part of the remediation of the former landfill.

Save the date – residents open evening

We are hoping to hold the residents open evening on Thursday 25 October between 4:40-6:30pm– we just need to confirm the venue.
Whilst this is primarily aimed at those who have expressed an interest in one of the allotments, and those whose property backs onto the site, all local residents are welcome.
The event is being held for people to find out more about the landscaping of the site along the perimeter of Kings Meadows. Where trees are to be planted at the back of properties, those affected will be consulted on the type of species, to avoid concerns over aspect and light quality.

Pedestrian access to Aldi
Whilst visiting Orchid House the issue was raised about there being no footpath between their site and Aldi. Although not part of the Sowerby Sports Village project we can report that the footpath link is part of the planning conditions for the development plot which is currently vacant. Once this plot has been sold the footpath will be installed as part of that development but at the moment there is no indication of when this will be.

Report at 8th September
The Sowerby Environmental Space Project (phase one of the development) is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund with a grant of £643,000 and is due to be completed by the end March 2019.
As part of the Sowerby Gateway development 11.1 hectares of land just off Gravel Hole Lane has been allocated for community use for sport and recreation.
The land has been transferred into the ownership of Hambleton District Council and planning permission has been secured to develop the site. The full masterplan includes grass pitches, an artificial pitch, a fitness track, allotments and a pavilion.
The Council has appointed Esh Construction Ltd to deliver the first phase of the project which is called the Sowerby Environmental Space Project. This phase will remediate the land (as part of the area was a former landfill site) and include the installation of a sustainable drainage system. These two elements will prepare the site to bring it into community use. We will also create 18 allotments, a 1 km fitness track and undertake significant landscaping works to increase the biodiversity of the site along the side and rear of Kings Meadows.
Phase one is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund with a grant of £643,000 and is due to be completed by the end March 2019.
Work to divert an overhead electrical cable underground will also be completed as part of phase one. This will be done by Northern Powergrid who have appointed Balfour Beatty to undertake the work.

Latest developments:
Esh have already cleared the vegetation on site, levelled off key areas and are starting to build a temporary road to provide access onto the site. Next week they will be importing aggregates that will be used to cap the former landfill which is likely to take all week.
Separate to this project Taylor Wimpey are also in the process of starting works to extend the access road behind Aldi to the primary school site which is going to temporarily block our access onto the site we are currently using. As a temporary measure we have been given permission to access the site from the top end of Gravel Hole lane whilst the road construction is taking place – estimated completion date mid to late November. There will be no heavy traffic from this project travelling down Gravel Hole Lane and onto Sowerby Front Street. Once the road is completed we will revert back to the original access point.

The annual maintenance works to trim the hedge along the back of Kings Meadows will be undertaken mid to late October to fit in with the project’s works schedule.

Residents open evening
Towards the end of October the Council will be holding a resident’s Open Evening. Whilst this is primarily aimed at those who have expressed an interest in one of the allotments, and those whose property backs onto the site, all local residents are welcome. The event will be an opportunity to find out more about the allotments and the proposed landscaping scheme. If a tree is going to be planted behind your property, you can also get involved in choosing the species.

The date and venue of the open evening will be confirmed in a future Community Briefing.

Future phases:
Future phases of the project, such as the provision of football and rugby pitches and changing accommodation, are dependent on funding and at this moment in time we are unable to provide any indication of when we are likely to have secured this additional funding. The council is currently researching funding sources that we could apply for and also liaising with the National Governing Bodies for the sports that are included on the site.


For further information email communities@hambleton.gov.uk

You can also keep up to date by visiting our Sowerby Sports Village webpage at www.hambleton.gov.uk and clicking on the ‘find out about major developments’ link at the top of the home page.


Sports Village development pictures.

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