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Chipping at greener greens - hole in one for reclaimed materials

Voted one of the best courses in Oxfordshire by National Golfer Magazine last year, Chipping Norton Golf Club, is taking advantage of the growth in popularity in the sport and building a new practice facility. But keen to keep its green credentials not just confined to the colour of its course, the club has employed Keltbray Golf Environmental to develop the facility using reclaimed soils. The challenge has been to carry out the work in a way that does not disrupt play on the rest of the course.

So how did this all come about? Last year, Keltbray, which has traditionally been a provider of pre-construction civil and rail engineering solutions, acquired Golf Environmental, extending its portfolio to encompass sports and land remediation. Renamed Keltbray Golf Environmental, the company specialises in the sustainable design and construction of golf courses, leisure facilities and restoration of former landfill and quarry sites. It has extended Keltbray’s recycling and material management offering, and is improving recovery levels, reducing waste and diverting it from landfill.

Keltbray works in partnership with golf clubs up and down the country, and offers design, planning, development and landscaping using reclaimed soil and materials from construction and demolition projects. It also has the ability to transform technically poor and contaminated soils from brownfield sites into clean and suitable inert material for the creation of new landforms.

The company combines construction capabilities with dedicated soil treatment facilities, and the opportunity to utilise surplus construction soil. “We can offer clients flexible and cost effective solutions, either as standalone services, or in combination with the option to incorporate surplus inert matter,” says David Jenner Keltbray Golf Environmental managing director.

Golf club plan

Davd Newton, the chair of the 122-year-old Chipping Norton club is confident the new development will help secure the future for the club and its members. “The new practice facilities will be ideal for youth development and beginners to bridge the gap between formative development through the practice range and lessons, and allowing them to graduate to the 18-hole golf course,” says Newton.

“It will also help us strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones with local schools and youth clubs to encourage juniors to take up the game.”

Keltbray secured planning from West Oxfordshire District Council for the contract to construct the new practice facility for Chipping Norton Golf Club on a section of disused land owned by the Club. At Chipping Norton, Keltbray has already started work to provide 95,000 tonnes of engineered soil material over a 12-month period as part of this project which covers an 81,000 square metre area.

From start to finish, the planning process for Chipping Norton Golf Club took around nine months, and was achieved by working closely with West Oxfordshire District Council and the club to minimise any disruption to the community and local transport routes.

Keltbray absorbed responsibility for the design, planning and permitting responsibilities, liaising widely with key stakeholders and ensuring work is undertaken in line with current legislation and Environment Agency regulations.

“The project has been specifically designed so not to disrupt golfers from playing on the existing 18-hole course,” says Jenner. “So it will remain fully operational throughout the works phase, which is due to be completed next summer.

“We also work only during the week, from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, so as to minimise disturbance to neighbours during the weekend period. In order to engineer and shape the new golf course, the soils are brought in by lorries, although these follow specific transport routes that have been agreed in advance with the local authority.”

Besides liaising closely with the local community, Keltbray also consulted widely with organisations, such as Natural England, parish and town councils.

A flood risk assessment was undertaken to ensure the development is safe and will not increase flood risk. An ecology assessment was also undertaken to ensure biodiversity is safeguarded, maintained and enhanced for priority habitats.

The ecological assessment also specifically addressed the potential harm to three protected species that had been recorded close to the application area – the brown hare, polecat and the cuckoo. Rather than limit assessment work to these species, a full ecological impact assessment was commissioned. This study concluded that there will be no significant adverse impact on any species, and that a number of positive benefits can in fact be expected to accrue from the development once it has been completed.

On the back of consultation, the lighting selected for the driving range was floodlights mounted at ground level on the range. Simple screening will then prevent any nuisance of obtrusive light pollution. Vehicle movements will average around 45 per day, and dust suppression measures and on-site road sweepers have also been instigated to minimise dust from lorries and materials.

Keltbray has put in place a stringent monitoring regime, where sampling and analysis by accredited laboratories is undertaken to ensure materials brought to site are fit for purpose and compatible with the planning and permitting framework. Materials are fully compliant with the Environment Agency and tested at agreed frequencies.

The Landfill Directive targets of reducing waste to landfill by 50% of 1995 levels by the end of 2012 means there is now increasing pressure to improve recovery levels. This is focusing hearts and minds, and Keltbray’s work at Chipping Norton is a good example of how we are changing the way we manage waste in this country, says Newton.

He adds: “The route to obtaining planning permission was arduous, despite the sustainability credentials of the solution. But the investment will result in a fantastic facility, which will benefit our members and also the general public and the local economy.”

David Coussell operations director for Keltbray Golf Environmental; www.keltbray.com

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