We have been installing in Southwood Country Park, with the park remaining open throughout installation works. There are three main phases of work within the park:
We have been working hard to prepare the pipe and the working area for open cut installation. During these preparations, we have observed a higher-than-expected water table which means that when we dig down, there is excess water in the trench.
Due to this, we decided to pause installation in the west of the park and within some parts of the eastern side of the park until ground conditions improved. We have however now restarted works in the eastern side, and we will shortly be recommencing works in the west this month. We are still expecting to conclude works in April.
During main installation, you will see:
We are using an open cut technique to install through the park. We started installing the open cut section though the east and west of the park in summer 2022.
Our works have taken longer than expected due to the exceptionally high water table. During preparations, we have observed a higher-than-expected water table which means that when we dig down, there is excess water in the trench. Due to this, we have decided to pause installation in the west of the park and within some parts of the eastern side of the park. This pause is due to excess water in the trench making it unsafe to work.
Once the weather and ground conditions have improved enough to stabilise the water table, we will recommence the open cut works in these sections. This means, we will likely restart some sections of the open cut works in spring 2023.
The open cut will be complete when the ends are connected into the pipeline installed using trenchless techniques. Therefore, depending on the sequence of the works, the end section(s) of trench will be suitably fenced off and secured until the connection of the pipe to the trenchless section is concluded.
We apologise for the continued disruption to visitors of the park as a result of our works.
Public access to Southwood Country Park will be available throughout the works.
In the west, we have maintained a circular footpath for users of the park. In the east, pedestrian access is still available with signposted diversions where needed.
The bridleway by Cove Brook Dam will remain open.
The car parks used for Southwood Country Park will remain open throughout the works.
The local landscape character comprises of informal footpaths within grassland, hedgerows and trees. Works are underway to convert the area from a heavily managed amenity environment as a former golf course, to a country park managed for recreation and nature conservation.
Where required, vegetation and tree clearance was completed by a small team during December 2021. Trees and hedgerows identified were removed by a team of specialists after advice from the Environmental Clerk of Works and the arboriculturist.
We have restricted gaps through hedges and woodland belts to a maximum of 10m, and there is a narrow working commitment of 15m to the northern section of the works to reduce impacts on woodlands.
We are using tried and tested techniques to work around tree roots through the park, including hand digging and use of air spades.
In addition, the project’s Environmental Clerk of Works and arboriculturist will visit working areas to provide specialist advice when any works to trees, such as branch removal, are required.
We completed installation under the A327 Ively Road in November 2022.
We are using a trenchless technique to cross below the Cove Brook Dam. Works will likely be completed in February 2023.
For Cove Brook we are using a fluming technique to open cut and install the pipeline under the watercourse. This is a tried and tested method and approvals are in place from the Environmental Agency/ the relevant Flood Authority.
Launch and reception areas have been constructed either side of the existing dam structure. The launch area is located to the west of the Flood Storage Area.
The pipe is being pushed from west to east (Southwood Country Park SANG to Cove Road) into the reception area. The excavation will remain open for as short a period as possible but will only be concluded once the open cut pipe installation has been tied into the pipe pushing section of pipe.
The area has been topsoil stripped and neatly stored to one side, which provides additional noise and visual screening of the area from users of the country park. The area has been covered with protection matting.
The Pedestrian Paths
Reinstatement will take place after installation is completed, in the next available season.
Vegetation will be reinstated as shown in the reinstatement plan.
Where the topsoil has been stripped and stored adjacent to the excavation, this will then be replaced after the works have been completed and either seeded with an appropriate conservation seed mix, previously collected seed or left for natural regeneration, following discussion with Rushmoor Borough Council’s Ecology Officer and informed by the updated surveys.
Hedgerows will be fully reinstated, and areas of woodland will be fully reinstated with a mix of appropriate native trees and woodland shrub species to the west of the A237, while in the Cove Valley Southern Grassland and Cove Brook Grassland the removed trees will be reinstated as acid grassland. The crossing of the Ively Brook will be reinstated to a more naturalistic structure if this has not already been achieved by RBC at the time of construction.
Our construction vehicles will access the park from Cove Road and from Cove Cricket Club. At the midpoint of the country park is construction compound 4AC which facilitates the works.
Our working areas are fully secure with locked gates and 24-hour security.
The voluntary Environmental Investment Programme (EIP) comprises a range of activities along the proposed replacement pipeline route to carry out localised environmental improvements, such as enhancing local biodiversity within environmentally classified sites and/or areas of social/community importance.
At Southwood Country Park, these activities include: