Flood Risk Assessment Enables Office Relocation and Residential Development
Haymarket Media Group has been consolidating its UK operations for a number of years, and its Teddington Studios site had been used both as permanent office space and temporary office accommodation for staff relocated from a major office in London.
This arrangement was inefficient for Group operations, however, and there were environmental and social implications as the staff were impacted in terms of travel and relocation.
After ten years at Teddington Studios, the Group decided to relocate the 1,000 employees to new offices, making the Teddington site surplus to requirements. The Group identified alternative offices in nearby Twickenham and decided to sell Teddington Studios for development.
In order to proceed with their consolidation plans and complete relocation activities in a way that didn’t hamper operations or adversely affect staff, Haymarket Media Group needed to complete the sale of the site promptly.
In order to secure a good return, Haymarket Media Group sought planning permission prior to sale. Since the site was located in the Environment Agency (EA) Flood Zone 3, a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) was required as part of the planning permission application.
The site was also at risk of flooding, though historical flooding had been infrequent and impacts had been minor.
Haymarket Media Group employed planning consultants CgMs (now part of the RPS Group) as part of a multidisciplinary project team that included architects TP Bennett and agents Savills.
They identified Hydro International’s Hydro-Logic® Services team as having the necessary expertise and experience both to provide the comprehensive FRA required to support the planning permission application, and to provide expert advice on drainage and flood-related issues.
Critical selection factors included the team’s reputation for hydrological expertise and their track record of success in sensitive negotiations with regulators on challenging sites.
Lead Flood Risk Consultant Paul Webster oversaw the project, coordinating the technical team and leading the liaison between Haymarket Media Group and regulatory authorities including the EA and the LPA. Consultant Paul Roberts provided expert technical input for the Emergency Plan and for the complex, challenging calculations of flood storage compensation using landscaping and voids under the principal buildings.
The FRA was submitted in September 2014 alongside other planning documents, and planning permission was awarded in December 2014.
As part of the FRA, Hydro-Logic® Services consultants contributed to the development of the master plan for a site that featured over 200 homes in a project that complied with the requirements of the NPPF.
Protection of the site from flooding was achieved by the setting of finished floor levels at a safe level and by the development of an emergency access/egress plan.
Any adverse impacts of the development on others were achieved through the provision of flood-storage compensation and a method for dealing with surface water drainage using a series of soakaways.
While the planning application was being developed, the site was at risk from the Thames flooding of early 2014. The Hydro-Logic® Services team was able to provide guidance during this period to supplement that provided by the EA.
The Teddington Studios site was acquired by City Developments in 2015, and following the successful planning application, the Hydro-Logic® Services team has been appointed by the company to provide further flood risk services, updating the FRA and discharging planning conditions.
The project demonstrated that although the infrastructure directly attributable to flood risk is relatively small, it is absolutely essential that flood risk is considered throughout the planning process.
Haymarket Media Group understood this and brought Hydro-Logic® Services experts into the multidisciplinary team early on, meaning that they could influence key design aspects at an early stage, improving the chances of successfully obtaining planning permission.