St. Austell Leads Way On Low-Carbon Development

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The £75m St.Austell Town Regeneration Scheme
The £75m St.Austell Town Regeneration Scheme

Contractors working on St Austell’s £75 million town centre regeneration scheme have introduced a number of innovative ways to reduce carbon output during construction, which have been welcomed by the South West RDA.

Sir Robert McAlpine is leading the development, which is receiving £31.5 million worth of investment from the RDA with the remainder from David McLean Developments. McAlpine has now implemented a Green Transport Plan to encourage workers to use more sustainable means of getting to and from the five-acre site. The company has purchased a minibus which collects employees from a car park on the outskirts of the town at the beginning of the day and drops them back at the end of their shift.

Since the start of construction in St Austell last year, Sir Robert McAlpine has also recorded the number of visitors to the site office, what form of transport they used to get there, where they came from and how many miles they travelled. The company is now offsetting carbon emissions through the organisation ClimateCare from these and future journeys – totalling nearly 55,000 miles to date. Managing and recycling waste on-site is also helping to reduce the number of lorry movements to and from the town centre.

Ian Whale, Cornwall Regeneration Manager for the South West RDA, which is committed to making its investments net zero-carbon by 2013, said: “Our focus is all about leading the development a low-carbon economy here in the region and the regeneration of St Austell is a great example of how the RDA is working closely with contractors like Sir Robert McAlpine to reduce the overall environmental impact of our investments. This is a good model of where we can make our towns and cities places where people want to live, work and enjoy their free time and reduce their need to travel, as well as their carbon emissions.”

The scheme aims to be a flagship for sustainable development in the region with commitments to using local subcontractors, suppliers and materials when practical and to promote sustainable construction on site. They have also introduced an environmental purchasing policy.

Secondary aggregates, timber from accredited sustainable sources, stone from Cornish quarries, bricks from South Devon and uPVC-free cabling will be used alongside blast furnace slag in the concrete. St Austell is also being proposed as a case study on steel sourcing, as part of the national move towards responsible steel sourcing.

The project, which is aiming for a ‘very good’ BREEAM rating, has been designed to maximise energy efficiency with a very high level of insulation, solar thermal heating and ground source heat pumps. Rainwater will be used to flush the public toilets and possibly extended to the retail units as well.

Caron Thompson, Environment and Liaison Manager for Sir Robert McAlpine commented: “We are working hard to make a real difference and lead by example in St Austell. It is important that we reduce the overall environmental impact wherever possible and set a benchmark for others, not just in the region but across the UK, to follow. We have had a lot of interest in what we are doing here from the local community, industry bodies and key business leaders and many visitors to the site are impressed by how far we are going to improve its green credentials.”

Meanwhile, construction above ground level is now highly visible. Foundations have been dug and substructure work including the underground car park and retaining walls is nearing completion. The main concrete frame for the whole development is progressing, whilst the steel structural frame work will start this autumn.

The new multi-screen cinema will be receiving its finishing touches over the next two months. At the moment work is taking place on the four auditoriums with the installation of pre-cast concrete base seating. It is anticipated the roof will be finished by the end of August and the external rendering and cladding complete during September, ready for owners WTW Cinemas to take over and work on the interior in the autumn. It is on course to open towards the end of the year.

New shops, cafes and restaurants, a four-screen cinema, underground car park and residential development are being created. The overall scheme is expected to employ between 500 and 700 people when it is completed next year and will have huge economic benefits for St Austell and surrounding areas.

Starbucks coffee house, fashion retailers New Look and Peacocks, high street bank HBOS and home and garden giant Wilkinsons have already committed to the new retail development ‘White River Place’ being led by David McLean Developments.

Notes to Editors:

1) The South West RDA leads the development of a sustainable economy, investing to unlock the region’s business potential. It works in partnership with public, private and social purpose organisations to drive up the region’s productivity by giving people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise, improving infrastructure, regenerating places, and promoting the strengths of the region. For more information see www.southwestrda.org.uk

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