GeoEnvironmental team unearths some surprising finds in Leeds

Article posted on: 18th May 2021

Project Insight by Sophie Harper-Price, Senior GeoEnvironmental Engineer


Back in 2018 we were appointed by Guinness Developments, one of the largest social housing providers in the UK, to provide GeoEnvironmental & Geotechnical advice and Civil & Structural Engineering for the delivery of Points Cross.

The regeneration of this large brownfield site, located within the South Bank area of Leeds City Centre, will see the delivery of an exciting and vibrant new neighbourhood. Commercial and retail units will sit at the ground floor with extensive public realm improvements and green spaces, adding to the sustainability of the area.

We caught up with our Senior GeoEnvironmental Engineer, Sophie, to see how she and the team were progressing with their site investigation works for contractor United Living. Here’s what she had to say…

“Points Cross has certainly thrown up a few surprises during the time we have been involved in the development. 

“We have been involved in the scheme since 2018 when the site was still occupied by a series of garage and showroom buildings. The site has had a varied past with both industrial and residential buildings historically present on site including mills, a foundry / engineering works and chemical works. 

“The GeoEnvironmental team undertook several phases of site investigation works, both pre and post demolition of the historic buildings, to update existing information and gain an understanding of potential development and environmental issues. The investigations identified contamination ‘hotspots’ which are now in the process of being removed as part of the development works. 

“Associated excavations have encountered several buried structures including basement floors, walls, a staircase, large stone drain and even some glass and ceramic bottles. By far the biggest surprise has however been the discovery of a mine shaft beneath the proposed building footprint, encountered during demolition of the historic buildings and grubbing up of the associated hardstanding. 

“The unrecorded shaft was found to be approximately 3m wide and 28m in depth. Drilling works across the wider site did not encounter any mine workings however the shaft required treatment to ensure it would not cause ground stability issues, especially given its location beneath the proposed building footprint. Following discussions with The Coal Authority, the subsequent treatment works involved grouting the shaft and the installation of a grout plug within the superficial deposits to ensure its stabilisation.”

The Civil & Structural Engineering team has now picked up the baton on this development which, once complete, will provide 928 new homes, a minimum 35% of which will be affordable housing.







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