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Restoration proposal for JCB legacy site is revealed

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

By James Brindle


Comments (3)

PROPOSALS have been unveiled for the restoration of the natural beauty of a stream which will be central to the JCB legacy development in Uttoxeter.

Work is set to begin on the site of the former JCB Heavy Products factory next year — if agreement can be reached on the new proposals for Picknalls Brook with the Environment Agency.

The unveiling of the proposals, which can be seen in this newly released artist’s impression(above), is being seen as an important step forward in the longawaited development on the Pinfold Street site.

A key planning condition which has to be met before the ambitious project, which includes a supermarket, park, offices, a possible new health centre and 257 houses, can go-ahead, is to naturalise the current industrial appearance of Picknall Brook which flows around the edge of the site.

Now plans have been unveiled to achieve a more natural look for the watercourse and consultations have begun with The Environment Agency over their implementation.

The key proposals include:

● Realignment of the course of the brook

● Creation of a pond area to encourage more diverse wildlife species

● Removal of concrete beds and replacement with more natural materials;

● Creation of steep banks to encourage breeding of water voles;

● Replacement of weirs with riffles and gravel barriers;

● Creation of shallow depths to encourage aquatic life

JCB group legal director Michael Hargreaves, who is overseeing the implementation of the scheme for JCB, said: “The unveiling of proposals to naturalise Picknalls Brook is a landmark moment for the redevelopment of the old heavy products site because approval of the plans will enable the scheme to go ahead.

“The consultation process on the plans is now under way with the Environment Agency and we hope to reach agreement with them quickly.” Production at the old heavy products site finished in 2008 and the factory relocated to a new £40 million site next to the A50 in Uttoxeter.

The relocation paved the way for the town centre site to be redeveloped and contribute to the wider renaissance of Uttoxeter.

The digger giant said JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford has been insistent that it’s important the redevelopment of the site leaves a legacy to Uttoxeter.

He instigated a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) design contest to ensure the redevelopment is of the highest standard which was won by London- based McDowell and Benedetti and the proposals for the legacy development were given planning permission in April 2011.

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  • A better legacy for Uttoxeter would have been a modern industrial site of medium to large units which would have proved Uttoxeter with a more stable economic base and yes, thousands of jobs potentially. I like the idea of pretty parks but we have a huge one which could have been developed. The legacy provided to Uttoxeter is irreversible ecomnomic instability now the site is developed. Uttoxeter relaies on two large employers, if either fails then the town is in dire straits - many more job not bank voles!

  • These are exactly the sort of aspirations needed towards creating a true legacy for the town, rather than the many other bog- standard developments that are currently in the pipeline. The bottom line is that Growth can now only be acceptable if it contains low- impacting and reduced carbon criteria in a world that is imminently veering towards a climatic tipping point that threatens all of humanity, which is why this particular project should be given due credit, and why any plans of lesser quality for the rest of the town should be rejected. The aspirations of Sir Anthony and his chosen Architects look good on paper, I just hope they can be fully realised, and set a positive precedent for any other developments to follow?

  • UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  December 04 2012, 12:26AM

    how high is the landmark building? (yet to be designed) 18metres from the island pavement. It will probably block many people's view of the well loved St Mary's Church spire from Birdland.