Design News

Grand opening of the UKs first large scale Carbon Capture and Utilisation Project

AXIS is delighted to have been invited to join TCE to celebrate the official opening of their Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) Plant in Northwich. It is the first large-scale CCU project of its kind in the UK, and represents a world first in capturing and purifying carbon dioxide from power generation plant emissions for use as a key raw material in the manufacture of pharmaceutical grade sodium bicarbonate. The plant is capable of capturing 40,000t CO2e per year, and will reduce carbon emissions at the plant by 11 per cent.  TCE exports 60 per cent of its sodium bicarbonate production in the UK to over 60 countries across the globe, and the CCU project is intended as a springboard for TCE to unlock further expansion into its export markets. 

Said David Adams, Director at AXIS, “We’re proud to have been responsible for the coordination, drafting and submission of all the EIA and planning application documents in the process of securing planning permission for the plant. We worked closely with the technical staff and proactively engaged with Cheshire West and Chester Council, and other key stakeholders in order to secure planning permission inside the statutory 16-week determination period. Post grant of planning permission, we were commissioned to ensure all schemes required by condition were submitted and discharged in a timely and efficient manner so that implementation of the project could proceed to commissioning in accordance with the clients overall project programme.”

“This is an exciting time for TCE, and the official opening of the plant represents the culmination of much hard work and dedication by the whole development team. AXIS is honoured to be part of that team, and thrilled to mark this significant milestone with all involved.”

Planning Application Successful for Essential NHS Key Worker Accommodation in Truro

The Development
On 14 January 2021, AXIS prepared and submitted a planning application to Cornwall Council for the development for NHS key workers and medical student accommodation.

The proposed development is on land off the A390 Tresawls Road in the Gloweth area of Truro. It is within a 5 minute walk of the Royal Cornwall Hospital and the associated medical and dental student education facility known as the Knowledge SPA.

The development would provide accommodation for 89 NHS key workers and medical students, which would be provided across three separate blocks of accommodation.

Visualisation of key worker accommodation. Source: CAD Architects

Essential Accommodation Needed
The development would meet an identified need for this type of accommodation. The student accommodation at the Royal Cornwall Hospital is oversubscribed each year and has a waiting list. There is not enough staff accommodation and the hospital is planning significant expansion, which will not include more accommodation.

In fact, the need for new accommodation is so great that the Royal Cornwall Hospital prepared a letter in support of the application detailing how the lack of staff accommodation, coupled with rising house prices and rental rates in Cornwall, is leading to issues with staff retention and the ability to attract staff from overseas. This lack of accommodation has the potential to significantly undermine the operation of the hospital.

Sustainability Features
Cornwall Council has declared a climate change emergency with an aim to become carbon neutral by 2030. The development was designed by AXIS and CAD Architects with this in mind:

  • The development is largely car-free with car parking provision only available for visitors and disabled residents
  • It is situated in a highly sustainable location near to services and amenities, with a regular bus service, and in walking distance from the hospital
  • The site would include a range of other sustainable transport measures including a travel plan, and a car and e-bikes club which would facilitate hourly hire of cars and e-bikes
  • The development would include a range of biodiversity and ecological enhancement measures that would lead to a 10% increase in biodiversity on the site
  • There would be around 70 cycle stands and e-bike parking spaces which equates to almost 1 space per room
  • The building design is also sustainable and would include solar panels, ground source heat pumps, green roofs and the use of recycled, reclaimed, and energy efficient building materials
Visualisation of key worker accommodation. Source: CAD Architects

Planning Permission Successful

Martin Pollard – AXIS Technical Director

On 2 August 2021 Cornwall Council’s Central Area Planning Committee resolved in favour of granting planning permission for the development.

Said Martin Pollard, Technical Director at AXIS, “We’re delighted to have secured planning consent for this essential, high-quality development that directly supports Cornwall Council’s carbon neutral targets and climate change emergency, whilst providing considerable benefit to NHS key workers and medical students at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.”

The formal grant of planning consent will be confirmed following the completion of a S106 Legal Agreement – AXIS is currently assisting in its preparation.

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AXIS Secures Planning Consent for Zenobē’s World First 100MW Reactive Power Battery Project in Capenhurst

The project will be the world’s first battery to absorb reactive power directly from the grid, helping stabilise the system and enable further adoption of renewable power sources.

  • The 100MW battery will be the first contracted project in the world to absorb reactive power directly from a transmission network;
  • The largest battery in Europe when commissioned to connect on a transmission network at 275,000 volts;
  • The project is the first in England to receive planning permission under the revised planning regime allowing battery projects over 50MW to be approved locally;
  • Zenobē’s site will address power supply issues in the Mersey region with a reliable reactive power service, delivering clean and secure energy at a substantially lower cost to consumers;
  • Over the next 15 years, the project is forecast to remove 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to 20,000 acres of mature forest (1,000,000 trees) or taking 216,044 diesel and petrol cars off the road;
  • The battery is due to be operational in April 2022 and accelerate the UK’s uptake of renewable energy.
Smaller Example of Battery Storage Site

Setting a precedent for future projects globally, this is a huge step for the UK as it focuses on building back greener and drives towards its net-zero by 2050 pledge. As the UK continues to adopt renewable power generation, managing voltage levels and ensuring reactive power management is vital. Over the next 15 years, the project is forecast to remove 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to 20,000 acres of mature forest (1,000,000 trees) or taking 216,044 diesel and petrol cars off the road.

The Capenhurst project was commissioned as a direct response to the National Grid’s pathfinder programme, seeking to solve the challenge of reactive energy management through the use of innovative technology.

The project is also the first of its kind to be approved under the new revised planning regime. Designed to help bring sustainable solutions onto the grid, the change allows batteries larger than 50MW to be granted planning permission locally rather than by the national approval body.

Phillip Roden, Director at AXIS, said:

“This is a huge milestone not just for AXIS, but for the UK and its ambitions in the race to NetZero. Battery storage will play a major role in moving the UK from carbon intensive to emission free power. This is the reason why the UK government has identified energy  storage as one of the UK’s ‘Eight Great Technologies’.”

“AXIS specialists supplied a range of services to Zenobē from facilitating the planning application, to ensuring the design mitigates environmental effects, coordinating specialist environmental studies, and liaising with Zenobē and Cheshire West and Cheshire Council during determination. It’s fantastic this pioneering work has come to fruition and the North West is yet again leading the way to a more sustainable future.”

James Basden, Co-Founder and Director at Zenobē Energy, said:

“The Capenhurst project is a great example of the pioneering solutions businesses like ours can bring to the table when industry innovation is encouraged by up-to-date legislation.

“As we move to a cleaner energy system, batteries like this one will play a vital role in stabilising the grid and ultimately enabling a greener, more sustainable, Britain. We will look to replicate this solution nationwide, working with government and industry to stabilise the UK energy system, push energy prices down and ensure an emission-free future”.

Smaller Example of Battery Storage Site

Zenobē’s project will optimise the absorption of reactive power as well as operating the active power services concurrently. The design of the Capenhurst site has been specially crafted to ensure there is limited disruption to the local community. As part of the development, several habitat enhancement areas will also be built.

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AXIS Secures Consent for the Redevelopment of Perry Barr Household Waste Recycling Centre and Waste Transfer Station

Environmental planning consultancy AXIS has secured planning consent for the redevelopment of a major waste recycling facility in Birmingham. The site, which is located on Holford Drive, is operated by Veolia Environmental Services on behalf of Birmingham City Council.

The project will improve essential services for the public, improve the safety of the site, and significantly enhance the local community and environment in advance of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Existing Site

The site has been used for waste management purposes for more than 60 years and is one of five household waste recycling centres in Birmingham operated by Veolia on behalf of the Council.

The existing Waste Transfer Station is located within a former incinerator building which has been on site since 1970 and is approximately 30m in height. Following the closure of the incinerator, the building was retrofitted to operate as a Waste Transfer Station. Given the height of this structure, it is widely visible in the surrounding area.

The other buildings on site are in a state of disrepair and need replacing.

The Redevelopment

The redevelopment will vastly improve the appearance of the site which is currently dominated by the large concrete incinerator building. The new buildings will be modern and bespoke, designed to ensure they are fit-for-purpose and more in keeping with the surroundings.

The layout of the recycling centre has been designed to offer an enhanced recycling experience to Birmingham residents visiting the facility, with improved parking and a safer experience utilising the split level design. Improved operational efficiency offers residents more opportunity to recycle while reducing the time spent on site.

The creation of a split-level facility will remove the need for visitors to climb steps to off-load waste into containers, improving health and safety for the public. The revised layout also results in a greater capacity for vehicles queueing off the public highway. Another safety improvement is the new site entrance for the Household Waste Recycling Centre which will separate waste lorries from private vehicles.

New structures will include a new 99 metre-long waste transfer station, open-air skips for different types of waste, and a main office and welfare building with more facilities.

The development will introduce attractive planting at the site entrance and tree planting along the site boundary. The construction programme is scheduled to commence this summer and will last approximately 80 weeks.

David Adams, Director at AXIS, said, “The Perry Barr redevelopment is a great example of what we at AXIS do on a day-to-day basis. Bringing forward essential projects that improve the local environment, provide essential services to the public, and help generate inward investment for our clients and the wider community.

The improvements this development will deliver will be significant to the local community, and will enhance appearance of the area for locals and for those visiting Perry Barr for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

David Adams

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Perry Barr will be the home of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. As a result of this, the area has seen significant investment and redevelopment in recent years which the new development will serve once complete. The demolition of the former incinerator will also greatly improve the appearance of the local area in advance of the Commonwealth Games.

Environmental planning experts at AXIS acted as project managers and provided planning, landscape and transport support.

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Plans Announced for 702-Bed Student Accommodation at the Island Quarter

Plans submitted by AXIS for the latest stage of The Island Quarter development will feature accommodation for Nottingham’s growing student population, with the developer behind the scheme submitting plans to Nottingham City Council on 4 May.

The Island Quarter Student Accommodation

The designs show a 702-bed purpose-built student development, featuring a range of accommodation types including studios and cluster living.

Amenities for the students in this latest phase of The Island Quarter – which is set to be available from September 2023 – include high-level sky lounges that offer projected views across the city and a pavilion with views onto a private courtyard space that will provide the opportunity for working, socialising, dining and exercising.

The Island Quarter Student Accommodation

The student accommodation will support The Island Quarter’s plans for intergenerational living across the site, with rental apartments forming part of phase 1B – which is currently in for planning – and future plans for family housing.

AXIS has been heavily involved in the scheme from the beginning, responsible for all town planning, external works design and transportation planning services, and has developed placemaking and landscaping content for the wider development masterplan.

David Jones, AXIS

David Jones, Director at AXIS, said: “It’s great to see this significant development reach another milestone. This high-end student accommodation and supporting amenities will provide young people with a fantastic environment to support their education, health and their wellbeing.”

Jon Mason, AXIS

Jon Mason, Landscape Technical Director at AXIS said: “Placemaking has been central to AXIS’ work on this phase of the development. We’re extremely proud our work is supporting the local economy and universities by providing an exemplary standard of residential living to students.”

Christopher Ware, property director at Conygar, said: “The plans submitted today are an exciting step for The Island Quarter development. Nottingham has a fantastic reputation as a university city, and the growth of the student population over the last few years reflects that. Purpose built student accommodation means more choice for students and less on them to live in traditional houses in residential areas of the city.

Our aim for The Island Quarter is true intergenerational living, with housing and accommodation that works for all. One of the biggest impacts of the pandemic has been that people of all ages are reassessing their relationship with where they live, and we want to create places and spaces where people can live, work and thrive.”

The Island Quarter masterplan, which received outline planning approval in April 2019, has been designed with a full lifecycle of uses, including hotels and hospitality, office space and community living. It will introduce a network of public realm and access routes for pedestrians and cyclists, with green spaces at the heart of the plans.

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AXIS Leads Successful Planning Permission for First Enviroo Plant

Specialist PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycler, Enviroo has had its planning application approved for its first plastic recycling facility in the UK. The facility will be able to re-use 100% of the PET it takes in and help recycle some of the 4.9 million tonnes of plastic waste created in the UK annually. 

Protos Enviroo Factory

The successful application, led and submitted by leading North West planning and environmental consultancy AXIS, means the plastic recycling facility will be operational in Summer 2022 at Peel NRE’s – part of Peel L&P – 54-hectare strategic energy and resource hub, Protos, near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

The facility will take PET – the main material used for food and drinks packaging such as plastic bottles and certain food packaging – and convert it into the raw material for new food-grade packaging. It will see an investment of around £20 million into the local economy and create 50 new, permanent jobs.

Enviroo will use proven technology to sort and wash the waste, before creating r-PET (recycled -PET) pellets that can be used by packaging manufacturers to create new packaging products. This technology is able to re-use 100% of the PET it takes in. 

This will become increasingly important from this time next year, when a new law will see any packaging that contains less than 30% recycled PET taxed. Some manufacturers have gone further, pledging to include up to 50% recycled material in their packaging under the UK Plastics Pact. The facility will therefore help to meet growing UK demand for recycled PET.

Andrew Russell, AXIS

Andrew Russell, Director at AXIS said: “We’re delighted to have secured the planning consent for this groundbreaking development, which will help reduce the levels of plastic waste generated in the UK each year. The North West is really leading the way in enabling the UK to meet our climate change obligations as part of achieving NetZero by 2050.”

Ahmed Detta, CEO & Founder of Enviroo, said: “We are delighted to have our planning application approved. After a positive consultation with the community, we now look forward to being able to get down to business and deal with plastic waste here on our shores and importantly help to create a greener North West. Our first facility will hopefully be one of many as Enviroo look to provide a solution for packaging manufacturers who are preparing for the upcoming plastic tax legislation. Our facilities will provide the recycled PET manufacturers need in their products, while reducing the amount of virgin plastic.”

Enviroo’s first facility is at the £165m Plastic Park at Protos, which will cluster together plastic recycling and recovery technologies to create value from plastic waste, helping to avoid it ending up in landfill, exported overseas or in our oceans.

Jayne Hennessy, Development Manager at Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P said: “Less than one third of all plastic waste in the UK is recycled. We are creating the UK’s first Plastic Park at Protos which will increase recycling rates, reducing landfill and the export of waste. This will be done by clustering together different technologies, including Enviroo’s PET recycling facility and the plastic to hydrogen facility also consented at Protos. We will be able to use technology and improved infrastructure to process many types of plastics collected by local authorities. Hopefully giving them the confidence to collect a wider range of plastic in the future”.

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AXIS puts Place-Making at Core of Multi-Million Pound Regeneration Scheme

Phase 1B will sit alongside Canal Turn, which started on site this year

AXIS is playing a lead role in the design and delivery of Nottingham’s biggest regeneration scheme in decades, The Island Quarter.

The original Boots factory site, which has been derelict for many years, will be transformed into a dynamic new Nottingham neighbourhood by a mixed-use commercial and residential scheme. The first phase of this 40-acre development, known as Canal Turn, will revitalise land adjacent to the Nottingham Canal. 

The site includes the creation of a new area of canal-side public realm, which will be the setting for a landmark waterfront building and a contemporary bandstand.  Canal Turn will be a new focal point of the Nottingham entertainment scene, hosting concerts and events all year round. The three-storey 2,000 sqm building features two restaurants, event space with panoramic views and a large rooftop terrace.

AXIS has been heavily involved in the scheme from the beginning, responsible for all town planning, external works design and transportation planning services.

Jon Mason, AXIS Technical Director

Jon Mason, Landscape Technical Director at AXIS said, “Placemaking has been central to AXIS’ work on the new public realm areas in Canal Turn. This development will be the first step in providing a setting for a wide range of community activities. The focus is very much on the ‘customer experience’. We’re making sure we create an external environment where people feel comfortable, want to spend time, and want to return to.”

The Island Quarter, when fully delivered, will be a transformation with new homes, grade A offices, a co-working and creative space, lifestyle hotels, student accommodation and a wide range of food and beverage outlets. 

The new development will be set within new, high-quality public realm.  A ‘green ribbon’ of open spaces will provide active travel connectivity through the site and spaces for the new community and its visitors to relax, exercise and have access to plentiful fresh air.  The development will create thousands of jobs, bolster the local economy, and enhance existing on and off-site pedestrian and cyclist connections to help strengthen links with adjoining areas.

Jon adds, “Our aim is to create a cultural and entertainment destination that is accessible to and engaging for all types of people; a place that’s well known both for the major events throughout the year and special one-off concerts, but also is an attractive, comfortable place to spend time with friends and family at any time of the day, any day of the week.

Given the close proximity of the city centre and great public transport links, we are keen to make accessing the site on foot and by bicycle extremely easy.”

David Jones, AXIS Director

David Jones, Director at AXIS, adds “Working on The Island Quarter scheme with Conygar has been a great experience for the AXIS team, and it’s fantastic to see the proposals taking shape onsite at Canal Turn.

This initial first phase will set the tone of what is to come in the wider development  and represents an exciting new dawn for this forgotten part of the city. Its focus on placemaking will ensure it is a sustainable destination, in every sense, for future generations.”

Christopher Ware, Director at Conygar, the developer behind the scheme, elaborates on their relationship with the council and AXIS: “We’ve worked very closely with the City Council and the design team to put together a development that will transform this part of the city centre and become a new destination and community for the future of Nottingham.

Key to its success will be a public realm that has variety, distinctiveness but, most of all, delivers an environment that is responsive to the buildings and activities within it. The team at AXIS have brought their planning and placemaking expertise to the table, and have made a significant contribution to the scheme’s progress so far. We are all very excited to see the development come to life over the next few years.”

Details of the second part of the first phase of The Island Quarter, Phase 1B, were submitted as a detailed planning application just after the Christmas break. The development includes buildings that will punctuate the Nottingham skyline, and comprises a 223-bed hotel, more than 240 build-to-rent apartments, co-working space, and an extensive food and beverage area.

The building features a 100m-long forum with food and drink outlets

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AXIS Secure Planning Permission for 50MW Solar Farm in East Cambridgeshire

In August 2020, on behalf of AGR & Fenland Farming Ltd, AXIS secured planning permission for a large-scale solar farm adjacent to National Grid’s Burwell substation, East Cambridgeshire.

AXIS co-ordinated the Environmental Impact Assessment and planning submission for this sensitive site on the edge of Cambridgeshire’s Fenland landscape.  Landscape integration and screening will be provided through the construction of extensive reedbeds around the perimeter of the solar farm.  The proposed reedbeds combined with species rich grassland and removal of land from intensive agricultural use would result in substantial net biodiversity gains within the site.  In the long term the reedbeds will support National Trust’s Wicken Fen Vision, which seeks to re-wild large areas of the Fenland landscape between Wicken and Cambridge.

The application was approved unanimously by the East Cambridgeshire planning committee following officer recommendation for approval.   The sensitive landscape mitigation provided by the reedbeds and the acknowledged need for increased renewable energy to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions were key considerations in the planning balance.

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AXIS Double Success at Salford Planning Committee!

AXIS helps secure two planning consents at the same planning committee session.  The two unrelated consents demonstrate the breadth of AXIS’ skills and the value of the company’s long experience in navigating potentially contentious major developments through the planning process.

Development at City Airport & Heliport (Barton Aerodrome)

AXIS has secured planning consent, on behalf of City Airport Ltd and Peel Land & Property Ltd, for an airfield safety scheme comprising import of inert materials to regrade land, divert a watercourse, partially infill a Site of Biological Importance and create compensatory habitat. AXIS assisted in the design of the scheme, including provision of detailed phasing proposals and specialist ‘instant’ landscape restoration, as a critical aspect of the proposal is to ensure that the Airport and Heliport remains operational while infilling progresses. Isopachyte information was produced, to control the height of moving plant in zones adjacent to the runways. As the Airport is a CAA-licensed facility, the AXIS team also had to ensure that proposals met their strict safety criteria.

AXIS also negotiated with Greater Manchester Ecology Unit to agree acceptable compensatory habitat for that lost to the scheme, prepared a whole-Airport Landscape & Ecological Management Plan for the long-term management of the site, assisted the Principal Designer in discharging his duties and contributed to the Site Works Information for tender.

AXIS continues to assist City Airport and Peel Land & Property in delivering the scheme, focussing on planning, landscape design and ecology.

Anchorage Quay, Salford Quays

AXIS assisted Cole Waterhouse to secure outline planning permission for a new residential apartment scheme of up to 290 units on the site of the former Barclays Bank office building at Anchorage Quay, Salford.

AXIS assisted with preparing the Transport Assessment / Travel Plan and in negotiating the scale and nature of highway-related S106 planning obligations.

AXIS’s Transport Planning team were able to demonstrate, through a combination of technical analysis and pro-active negotiations with Urban Vision that the 38 car parking spaces proposed (12.7%) would be acceptable to serve the scheme.

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AXIS Secures Planning Consent for another 49.5MWe Gas Peaking Plant

AXIS has secured planning consent, on behalf of Harbour Energy Ltd, for a 49.5MWe Gas Peaking Plant in the Green Belt to the west of National Grid’s Supergrid Substation, Capenhurst, Cheshire West and Chester.

Working closely with Harbour Energy, AXIS co-ordinated the planning application, green belt assessment, site search, noise, air quality, ecological and Landscape and Visual assessments. AXIS addressed consultation responses and managed the process during determination.

AXIS has secured planning consent for over 200MW of Gas Peaking Plants across the UK.

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