The urban village is being constructed on brownfield land that was formerly being used by an oil refinery that was called the Llandarcy Oil Refinery that was owned by BP. This oil refinery was constructed between the years 1918 and 1922 and it has been labeled as the first crude oil refinery in the country. Since there were some economic changes, the site was closed in the year 1997 (Brownfield renewal in Wales and South West Region, 2007).
Planned Outputs of the Urban Village
According to the plan that has been prepared for Coed Darcy, the community will comprise of 4,000 homes along with employment space, community facilities as well as open space that covered an area of 1,300 acres. The estimate of the development of this community is about 1.2 billion pounds. Moreover, four new schools have also been planned for this community. These schools include 2 English primaries, 1 Welsh primary and 1 secondary (Coed Darcy Urban Village, 2008). One of the proposals that have been put forth for the development of the community is a new road that would be a southern access and would link the village with the Fabian Way (A483) and into Swansea (Coed Darcy Gets Outline Planning Permission, 2008).
It has been expected that the construction will create around 3,000 to 4,000 job opportunities that includes jobs directly related to the construction industry and the others are related to the support services. Once the construction of the village is completed, it will provide residence to around 10,000 people (Swansea Bay News).
Planning and Construction of Coed Darcy
Input from the Prince's Foundation was one of the main contributors for the finalization of the design specifications. It has been reported that the urban village would be developed in the similar fashion as the Poundbury development. The aim of the development of this village is to encourage people to live and work in a community with unity (Land Being Cleared for Prince's eco Village, 2007). The expected time frame for the completion of this project is about 20 years.
Coedffranc Community Council's members suggested the name for the urban village, which was then accepted by the others involved in the development and planning. The name has been inspired from the local village of Coedffranc as well as that of the neighboring village that is called Llandarcy (Coed Darcy Name Revealed at Llandarcy Development Exhibition, 2008).
Back in 2007, an announcement was made that stated that St. Modwen Properties was chosen as a prioritized developer of the Coed Darcy site (St. Modwen Named as Coed Darcy Main Site Preferred Developer, 2008). Reclamation and redevelopment of the brownfield site, which is expected to be completed in seven years, will be led by St. Modwen Properties. As for the remediation work, the removal of contaminated material from the site is involved. This contaminated material is the stuff that was dumped on the site when it was used as an oil refinery.
The site that was there at the location of the old refinery's main entrance and was named as Area 1 is where the work was started in June of 2008. The construction was started with the construction of first 150 homes along with 58 apartments. The area covered by these homes and apartments has been estimated to be 10.4 acres (Projects + Buildings by Robert Adam Architects). These properties were designed by the Director of the ADAM Architecture, Robert Adam; meanwhile they were developed by Edward Ware Homes and Atlantic Properties Plc (Atlantic Ware Developments). The construction at this site was carried out by the company known as the Dawnus Construction (New Village Rises, 2008). This area, Area 1, is advertised as Heritage Gate.
Works of St. Modwen
St. Modwen had to go through an intense tendering procedure for the procurement of the site, as it was judged by the main stakeholders that included Welsh Assembly Government, BP, Neath Port Talbot Borough Council and Prince's Foundation. The main factor that was involved while choosing St. Modwen as the developer of Coed Darcy was that their demonstration of their capability to be consistent with the vision for the development was very impressive and they had set out a master plan that acceptable to all the stakeholders (Alan Baxter & Associates, 2005).
St. Modwen Masterplan
A part of this plan was that Coed Darcy would be developed in a community that is sustainable and that is an example of the implementation of the government policy. One of the main objectives of the development of the Coed Darcy urban village is to strengthen the local networks and communities that already exist. St. Modwen also expects this development to have the abilities to adapt and modify itself according to the changing environments and circumstances.
As mentioned earlier, reclamation of the site will also be carried out by St. Modwen and the company will also build plots for the development of the community. According to some reports, St. Modwen does not plan to construct the plots, rather the company will buy plots that have already been constructed and then these plots will be sold to 'house builders'. Therefore, the main focus of St. Modwen would remain the reclamation of the construction site.
St. Modwen would be dealing with the final demolitions, decommissioning as well as the site clearance issues. Another thing that the developers would be dealing with is the remediating of the contaminated land because the site was under the use of an oil refinery. The developers also seek to address the not-so-good ground conditions for the engineers. Issues pertaining to water, ecology and landscape as well as the environmental impacts that exist with the construction of the Coed Darcy urban village will also be addressed by St. Modwen. The developers will also be constructing the initial infrastructure that includes drainage, roads and preparations of the development platforms.
Planning permission has been given for the development along with an Environmental Statement. This statement defines the environmental effects that can result from the redevelopment and reclamation of the construction site and how these effects can be mitigated.
Planning permission was given to the developers on the basis of the Masterplan of the construction site that was put forth by St. Modwen. The planning permission was given in the form of Town Code that explains the building design of the village as well the number of strategies and assessments that have been carried out pertaining to landscape, ecology, transport and ecology, to name a few.
Apart from the planning permission, the Sustainability Appraisal was also carried out that was a part of planning application. This Appraisal discussed in detail the sustainability credentials of the development of Coed Darcy. These credentials were then compared with the practices that were considered to be good or best. The conclusion of this Appraisal was that there were many issues that could not be addressed completely unless the extensive design phase for the development was reached, which primarily pertained to the use of energy, waste and other materials.
Moreover, the solutions that are sustainable as well as cost effective would be considered by St. Modwen. These solutions would be selected with the objective that the solutions that are being used reduce the costs of the development and at the same time add value to the construction site in a way that Coed Darcy can get a better price for the site from the builders of the house if they later on seek to sell the development plots. Another way in which value can be added to these plots is by improving the brands of the development and construction.
Carbon Critical Design -- An important consideration
The goal that needs to be accomplished by the year 2030 is to make the new buildings "carbon-neutral." This means that no coal, oil or gas would be burned to build light, heat and cool for the buildings that are being constructed. It should be noted that construction industry as well as the buildings consume about half of the energy that is generated in the United States. Architects should be well aware of the fact that the new projects should focus on energy efficiency and buildings should be designed and renovated in a way that reduces the emission of carbon to the most. This is not something that requires some rocket science or is hard to implement in any way. It only requires simple innovations that include the configuration of the buildings pertaining to the ventilating, heating and cooling systems. Moreover, there is a need to identify the construction materials that can be recycled and to use the energy technologies that are cost effective as well as environmental friendly.
Many developers and environmentalists unanimously believe that the most complex and challenging issue that they have to face is the climates change; also being the most important one as well. A critical design parameter that is being considered and focused by Atkins throughout the company in all the…