Civil car park design and sustainable drainage for the Cothill School
Schools that perform well become increasingly popular and grow in student numbers. The negative side is that it directly results in an ever greater reliance on the school's physical infrastructure. If the school is to maintain quality and safety then the external fabric needs to be reviewed and improved to support the operation.
This often includes a demand for additional safe parking for school coaches and teacher's cars. Physical space can be limited. It is critical that designs can be produced which satisfy the needs of both the school and the Highway Authority in terms of improving sustainability, the environment and safety. However, typically schools wish to maximise expenditure on education rather than infrastructure and budgets can be limited.
At Wilsham Consulting, we understand these needs.
We have the proven experience of working with schools and the highway authorities to advise on the right balance to suit each unique situation. Our professional civil engineering consultancy design service to the Cothill School is a typical example.
We don't just design highways and car parks, we work with Clients and Architects to:
- manage the design process
- identify school assets and constraints
- identify safety and financial project risks
- to actively mitigate risks through the design process
- advise on sustainability options, including sustainable drainage and sustainable highway design
What was the car park design at Cothill?
There was an existing basic car parking area. The aim was to maximise the reuse of the area for coaches. We confirmed ground investigation techniques. We proposed new sustainable techniques to provide an improved structure and asphalt specification. We designed a sustainable drainage system to reduce the flood risk, when compared to the existing arrangement.
What were the car park design constraints at Cothill?
The site was close to the SSSI Cothill NNR nature site. Cothill Fen Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is one of the most species rich lowland calcareous fen systems in the UK. Cothill NNR is known for its fens and their rich invertebrate life, but in addition the site also has open water, reedbeds and oak and alder woodland.
Car and coach parks can be split into two main forms of hydrocarbon / heavy metal pollution risks.
- The continual background pollutant wash, often associated with the "first flush" 5mm of rainfall.
- The accident, where the petrol tank is ruptured or leaking.
Many traditional car parks have obvious signs of hydrocarbons which during times of rain can be seen as a rainbow of colours on the surface.
We worked with Natural England to address their concerns regarding the risk of pollution to the groundwater. Without adequate drainage previously, surface water drained off the site, down the public highway and into the watercourse without treatment.
With the implementation of a sustainable drainage system at the site effective treatment was therefore introduced and the pollution risk to the Fen reduced.
Opportunity was also taken to relocate the main highway entrance to improve visibility and therefore safety.
What were the views of the Authorities?
Our civil car park design proposals were welcomed, supported and approved by Oxfordshire County Council Highway Team, Natural England and the Vale of the White Horse District Council.