Design News

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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AXIS Secures Planning Consent for 49.5MWe Gas Peaking Plant

AXIS has secured planning consent, on behalf of Harbour Energy Ltd, for a 49.5MWe Gas Peaking Plant on land adjacent to National Grid’s Supergrid Substation to the east of Kirkby, Knowsley.

Working closely with Harbour Energy and local technology provider Clarke Energy, AXIS co-ordinated the planning application, noise, air quality, ecological and Landscape and Visual assessments. AXIS addressed consultation responses and managed the process during determination. The application was approved under delegated powers.

AXIS are working on a number of other Gas Peaking Plants across the UK.

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AXIS secures planning consent for Tata Chemicals Europe for the UK’s first “groundbreaking” industrial-scale Carbon Capture and Utilisation Demonstration Plant

AXIS is delighted to have successfully secured, in just 13 weeks, detailed planning permission from Cheshire West and Chester Council, on behalf of Tata Chemicals Europe Limited (TCE), for the development of a ground breaking Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) Demonstration Plant. The plant will reduce carbon emissions, whilst ensuring a secure, sustainable supply of carbon dioxide – a raw material critical to the TATA Chemicals Europe’s international growth.

The CCU will support the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, the £16.7m project will be funded by TCE with the support of a £4.2m grant from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Carbon Capture and Utilisation Demonstration Programme. The approved development is the first large-scale CCU project of its kind in the UK. The project also marks a world first in capturing and purifying carbon dioxide from power generation plant emission gases to use as a key raw material to manufacture high purity sodium bicarbonate.

Commenting on the work with AXIS, Director of Projects for TCE, Ladan Iravanian, said,

“We worked closely with AXIS on this groundbreaking project and their support in the planning process has been invaluable.  The AXIS team brings experience, energy and insights that helped shape our planning application.  It was great to have their support and that of Chester and Cheshire West Council for this carbon capture and use demonstration project.”

The plant will capture CO2 emitted from the existing, highly efficient, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Energy Plant at TCE’s Winnington Works Site in Northwich. The Winnington Works is the UKs largest single site user of liquid CO2, which is used in the manufacture of high-grade sodium bicarbonate which is primarily used in the pharmaceutical and haemodialysis sectors. TCE already exports 60% of its sodium bicarbonate to over 60 countries across the globe. The CCU project will be a springboard for TCE to unlock further growth into its export markets.

The facility will be the first of its kind in the UK and would provide a wholly sustainable solution by capturing CO2 from the exhaust gases of the existing CHP energy plant, by utilising it within the on-site production of sodium bicarbonate. The CCU plant will be capable of capturing and producing up to 40,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide and will reduce TCE’s carbon emissions at the CHP plant by 11%.

AXIS was responsible for the preparation and submission of the detailed planning application, supporting documentation, undertaking the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and production of the Environmental Statement (ES). AXIS worked closely with TCE technical staff and proactively with the Council to secure planning permission for this unique and exciting project, within the 16-week determination period.

Commenting on the project, TCE MD, Martin Ashcroft, said,

“The CCU demonstration plant will enable us to reduce our carbon emissions, whilst securing supplies of a critical raw material, helping to grow the export of our products across the world. Implementing this industry leading project, with such strong environmental and operational benefits is hugely exciting, and we’re pleased to be working closely with BEIS to deliver the demonstration plant.

We hope that this project will demonstrate the viability of CCU and pave the way for further applications of the technology to support the decarbonisation of industrial activity. Our parent company, Tata Chemicals Ltd, has supported this innovative project, enabling our UK operations to continue to reduce its carbon emissions. This project is a great example of business and Government working together to rise to the challenge of decarbonising industrial production.”

In April 2018 the publication the Government’s ‘Clean Growth Strategy’ set a framework for growing national income, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  To help enable this goal, the Government committed to spend up to £100 million from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme to support Industry and Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) innovation.  With the objective of improving business and industry efficiency, and further reducing the cost of deploying CCUS, the Carbon Capture & Utilisation Demonstration (CCUD) Programme – announced in the Clean Growth Strategy – provides grant funding to innovation projects that significantly reduce the cost of capturing and utilisation of CO2.

Commenting on the project, Chris Skidmore, Energy & Clean Growth Minister said,

“Cutting edge technology to capture carbon will cut emissions as we work towards a net zero economy, while creating new jobs – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.

This innovative project from Tata Chemicals Europe represents a major milestone in efforts to rollout carbon capture at scale by the 2030s.”

Further details about the project can be found at the following external links:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-48785945

https://www.tatachemicalseurope.com/news-release-tata-chemicals-europe-build-uks-largest-carbon-capture-use-plant

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-tata-chemicals-carboncapture/tata-chemicals-plans-first-uk-industrial-carbon-capture-demo-plant-idUKKCN1TR3AU

https://www.ft.com/content/b45d94b6-97fc-11e9-8cfb-30c211dcd229

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/27/uks-biggest-carbon-capture-project-is-step-change-on-emissions

For further information about this project and on Tata Chemicals Europe, please contact Conker Communications.

Martin@conkercommunications.com | Sue@connkercommunications.com  www.conkercommunications.com  | 0161 445 9837

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AXIS helps Peel Energy secure planning permission for Mossy Hill Wind Farm Shetland

AXIS LVIA staff assisted Peel Energy in securing planning consent for a 12 turbine, 145m to blade tip wind farm on the outskirts of Lerwick, Shetland.  AXIS advised on the design of the windfarm from a landscape and visual perspective and undertook the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment for the project.  A key issue was minimising the potential effects on a nearby National Scenic Area.  This was achieved through an iterative design process earlier in the design development stage and Scottish Natural Heritage raised no objections in this respect.

http://www.peelenergy.co.uk/mossy-hill

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Improved Flood Defences for Littleborough, Rochdale

AXIS was commissioned by Jacobs on behalf of Environment Agency (EA) to provide consultancy services for Littleborough, Rochdale. AXIS and Jacobs worked closely with EA and Rochdale Council to develop proposals for the River Roch, Town House Brook and Greenvale Brook including upstream storage at Gale.

AXIS provided Jacobs with landscape design services helping to create new flood defences to fit in with the local vernacular using its Design Vision approach. AXIS also coordinated the planning submission including the supporting planning statement and design and access statement.

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AXIS Attends Official Opening Ceremony for the Completed Salford Flood Improvement Scheme

The completed Salford Flood Improvement Scheme was officially opened on 2 February 2018 by EA Chair, Emma Howard-Boyd and Salford City’s Mayor, Paul Dennett. Costing £10 million, the scheme will reduce the risk of flooding for almost 2000 homes and businesses in Lower Broughton and Lower Kersal.

The flood basin sits within a meander loop of the River Irwell upstream of Salford. The 28 hectare flood storage basin will hold 650 million litres of water (an equivalent volume to 260 Olympic sized swimming pools) during a flood. The design includes more than 5 hectares of urban wetland habitat bringing attractive landscape to people and wildlife. It will work in tandem with Littleton Road flood storage basin and other channel raising work, completed in 2005 – AXIS and Jacobs were also consultants on these earlier phases.

AXIS formed part of the Jacobs consultant team, advising the EA on the appraisal and delivery of the scheme for the last 3 years.

AXIS coordinated the preparation of the Environmental Statement for the EIA schedule 2 flood storage basin. It then secured planning approval and coordinated discharge of all planning conditions. AXIS helped to design significant public realm improvements along the riverside walkway (Irwell Sculpture Trail); and nature conservation enhancements for the new wetlands.

Artwork alludes to former use of storage basin as Manchester’s Race Course

Over 5ha of wetland created contributing to BAP targets

Aerial view of Salford’s new flood storage basin at Castle Irwell

AXIS oversaw the environmental aspects of construction and ensured that the initial landscape masterplan was realised.

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AXIS Attends Official Opening Ceremony for the Completed Mersey Warrington Flood Risk Management Scheme

The completed Mersey Warrington Flood Risk Management Scheme was officially opened on 26 January 2018 by EA Chief Executive, Sir James Bevan and Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Les Morgan.

Costing over £34 million, the scheme is one of the largest flood defence projects in northwest England which will significantly reduce the risk of flooding to over 2000 homes and businesses in Warrington and protect vital infrastructure contributing to the local and regional economy.

Opening plaque with consultants from AXIS, Jacobs and CH2M

AXIS formed part of the consultant team, with engineering consultants CH2M and Jacobs, advising the EA on the appraisal and delivery of the scheme for the last 7 years.

AXIS role was to assist the EA in working with landowner and stakeholder organisations such as Warrington Council, Peel Holdings, United Utilities and the numerous community groups and residents affected by the scheme.

AXIS prepared the initial Design Guidelines setting the overall design parameters and allowing regulators to appreciate the vision. AXIS secured consent for the original hybrid planning application with accompanying ES covering the detailed design of Phase 1 and outline of Phases 2 & 3. AXIS then secured detailed planning consent for later phases.

AXIS helped to design significant public realm improvements for Knutsford Road and Victoria Park; nature conservation enhancements for Twiggeries; improved connectivity along the river through the provision of new cycleways/footpaths; and interpretation of heritage features.

Jelly Bean Wharf (redesigned viewing and seating area)

Public realm improvements along Knutsford Road

AXIS oversaw the environmental aspects of the construction and ensured that the initial environmental and landscape vision was realised.

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