Contaminated land earmarked for 255-house development in Northampton “could be made habitable”

The proposed housing estate to the east of the stadium would be on a former landfill site
The proposed housing estate to the east of the stadium would be on a former landfill site

Contaminated land near Sixfields stadium that has been earmarked for new homes could be made habitable, a new report says.

But the land, which could see 255 homes on it, still represents “a major concern” because of the potential for health risks, according to Northampton Borough Council officers in a newly-submitted outline planning application.

Their report says: “In terms of considering the principle of the application the more significant issue [over the proposed supermarket] from an environmental perspective is the matter of ground contamination.

“The site was formerly used for landfill and consequently is significantly contaminated.

“The development of retail units on such a site is not too much of an issue.

However the development of dwellings in this context is, potentially, a major concern due to the potential risks to the health of future residents.”

The Chron has previously reported that assessments of the likely make-up of the land - which so far has not been the subject of scientific tests - assumes there to be asbestos mixed into the soil as it was a former landfill site.

There are concerns that solvents and metals buried in the site could become dangerous to future residents.

And other severe potential hazards include the build-up of ground gas, a mixture of carbon dioxide and methane from decomposing organic matter, that could lead to an explosion.

The site had a tramway through it leading to two offsite quarries which were later turned to landfills.

Athough covered in plants now, the site is believed to consist of ‘made ground’ from construction or demolition fills, landraising and material from Weedon Road landfill.

However the author of the new report said, although more information was needed, it may be possible to make the land safe for housing.

He said: “Reports have been submitted with the application which indicate that the ground conditions existing at the site could, potentially, be satisfactorily remediated so as not to provide a risk to the health of future residents of the development.

“However it is considered that further information needs to be provided around this issue and consideration given as to the mechanisms required to secure the necessary remediation.”