Fulham Reach

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The Fulham Reach development is being undertaken by the client, St George Central London Ltd, who will transform this derelict 7.3 acre site into a thriving community which will provide 744 new homes just east of Hammersmith Bridge in London on the north bank of the River Thames. As part of the scheme, St George will be providing retail, commercial and leisure spaces, a community boating facility and a new pontoon for river access.

Richard Pearce, Project Director for St George, tells us about the project and how they have encompassed the Scheme.

1. Please can you describe the project you are working on?

The site has been disused for 10 years and historically it was the site of a distillery, saccharine works and sugar refinery.

The development is in excess of 60,000m2 and will be developed over a number of phases. Works on site commenced in November 2011 and currently we have completed the marketing suite, refurbished the Thames Path to this stretch of the river, constructed a new pontoon on the river and have commenced the first of the blocks with the first occupations due in 2014.

The decision to refurbish the river wall and to construct the pontoon at the commencement of the project works rather than at the end was as a result of liaison and dialogue with the local community as well as the Council. Both have been received well and have established a great benefit for the community from an early stage.

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Pontoon works nearing completion.

The first block comprises 138 apartments, leisure and commercial facilities, with a proportion of the apartments being available through the discount market sale initiative which we are working in conjunction with the local Council to deliver. The block sits above a basement car park and includes at basement and ground floor levels amenities such as a swimming pool and sauna, gym and treatment rooms, screening room, snooker room, virtual golf room, wine tasting room and cellar, commercial and retail units and seven levels of accommodation above.

The master plan for the site was carefully developed and consultation held with the local community. The design is based on a warehouse aesthetic, a design approach which accentuates the industrial history of the site and uses materials such as London stock bricks, stone cladding and cornicing. Proportionally it therefore retains a traditional form.

We are also extremely proud of the refurbishment we have undertaken to the Thames Path at this location, where we have re-aligned the path to make it continuous along the river front, re-clad the existing river wall in reconstituted stone, replaced the handrail and path to create, what we consider, the best new piece of Thames Path developed in recent years.

The project will be developed in phases over the coming 5 - 7 years.

2. How have you incorporated the Scheme into your site?

The requirements of the Considerate Constructors Scheme are fully known to all managers and operatives on site, and are well presented from the initial site inductions through to tool box talks and meetings on the Scheme between St George and our contractors. At St George, not only are we the developer and builder, but once occupations by residents’ and tenants’ occur we fulfil the estate management function as well and hence it is in our interests everyday to run our developments to the highest order. The Scheme helps us achieve that.

We have incorporated a significant number of the Scheme’s requirements including the displaying of posters, through to meeting the local residents at community forums. We have always been open to engagement with residents of the local community and this is where we have got the best feedback on what is working well and what can be improved upon. The local residents are very welcoming to the development as they have had a disused site in their local area for a decade. We have been able to create landscaped gardens around our marketing suite and have replaced the perimeter site hoarding with a new hoarding that is well maintained. We have refurbished some of the hard landscaping in the area and we are undertaking the maintenance of the local Frank Banfield Park, where we have won a Green Flag Award.

We are also involved with the local community at Melcombe Primary School, William Morris 6th Form School, Hammersmith & West London College and Fulham Enterprise Studio. We have carried out career presentations, “speed careering” and discussions with specific students on what they wish to do having identified if they are interested in the construction industry. This engagement has identified that the whole of the construction industry could be doing more to get young people into the industry.

3. Since the beginning of the project, what challenges have you faced? How have you been able to overcome these?

We have undertaken an extensive ground investigation to ensure there is no contamination on the site, and at the same time there have been significant ground obstructions from the site’s former buildings. We have also been sympathetic to a neighbour while breaking out these obstructions as they requested we did major breaking out works up until approximately 10.30am in the morning and then stopped for a period due to the nature of their business.

In order to avoid further noise on site, the decision was taken to remove concrete obstructions and to crush them off-site with an amount then being recycled and returned for use in piling mats etc. in lieu of crushing on site.

A major challenge earlier this year was when we were refurbishing the Thames Path and the request was made on whether we could open it on the Saturday of the University Boat Race in order that full access along this stretch of river bank could be maintained. We were close to finishing the refurbishment works at the time but not fully complete and were able to open it solely on a temporary basis that day for the race and to fully open it a few days later. This was another instance where we had to be flexible in order to accommodate the local community on this high profile riverside site.

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Liaison meeting with children from the local school where we explained the project.

4. Could you detail a few examples of good practice you have put in place on site?

We go to considerable lengths to promote best practice at this site. We have a full time road sweeper in attendance to keep the local roads around the site clean which is in addition to the wheel washing machine. A labourer will undertake a litter pick of the local streets and the adjacent public park three times a day to keep the whole area around the site looking in pristine condition.

Other initiatives include supplying renewably sourced electricity to the site’s project office and marketing suite, PIR sensors to communal welfare areas and some offices have low energy lights, dual flush WC’s; we encourage the use of recycled paper and use fair trade consumables.

On site we use low energy lighting where possible and minimise the amount of light left on overnight, and where timber is used, it has to be from a sustainable and accredited FSC source. Our operatives are encouraged to use public transport to get to work or to use a bicycle where possible.

All waste on site is segregated and from the large bulk excavation we have undertaken, the majority of the spoil has gone for re-use as opposed to landfill.

In the local community we are regularly engaging with the residents and stakeholders through newsletters, exhibitions and other consultation events. 

5. Any other comments?

We have gone to considerable lengths to implement the required standards of the Scheme and they have been well supported. All initiatives have been undertaken with the sole purpose of being useful and beneficial to the local community.

In doing so, a community destination will be created where people will be able to enjoy a great quality of life.

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The Worshipful Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, Councillor Frances Stainton with Mr Nick Hutchings, MD of St George Central London Limited and children from Melcombe Primary School.